Big Plans For Indian Athletics
Sportstar|October 17, 2015
Big Plans For Indian Athletics
"Athletics, as you all know, is the Mother Of All Sports. We have to really work hard. There are a lot of things involved. We need real talent and real support and competitive management is where we are lacking," Anju Bobby George tells K. Keerthivasan.
K. Keerthivasan

One of the finest-ever athletes that India has produced, the 38-year-old long jumper Anju Bobby George is not resting on her laurels. The 2003 World championship bronze medallist has been working overtime to begin an academy in Bangalore, along with her husband-coach Bobby George, with the support of the Sports Authority of India. “We will start it in a month or two (October-November),” said Anju, when she made a visit to Chennai to be the chief guest at a city school’s sports meet.

“As a coach Bobby George knows what an athlete needs and as an athlete I know what an athlete requires to perform on the world stage. Together, we can do wonders,” she added.

Excerpts from an interview:

Question: Can athletes from India make a mark on the world stage?

Answer: We are not able to find big talents now. Maybe in future.

Can you please elaborate?

It is very difficult. Athletics, as you all know, is the mother of all sports. We have to really work hard. There are a lot of things involved. We need real talent and real support and competitive management is where we are lacking. We have to take part in competitions not only in India, but also overseas like Europe and for that we have to be in the top 12 in the world. To reach that level is very difficult. The bad thing is that nothing is happening. Only Vikas Gowda (shot put) is competing (regularly) in the international circuit. It’s not the practice, it’s not about the coach, competitive management is the real key. Only that part we are lacking.

What do you think of India’s chances in the Rio Olympics?

I am with the team supporting the Indian contingent both in 2016 and 2020 Olympics as a Target Olympic Podium (TOP) member. We hope we will get more medals than in previous Olympics.

What is the basis?

After the last Olympics, we are performing well in a few events. We are not sticking to one event. We are looking for multiple sporting disciplines.

You are a medal-winner at the world level. After you, there has been a drought. Why?

Doping is a big scandal. Tackling that is a very difficult part. They (doping offenders from the Western world) are all very advanced than us. If everyone was competing ‘clean’, then I should have won a medal in the 2004 Olympics.

You have seen the system. What is lacking? Is it the infrastructure, administration, or coaches?

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October 17, 2015