Our Sports Reporter
GUWAHATI, July 8: Legendary Indian athlete PT Usha visited Guwahati during the 58th National Inter-State Senior Athletic Championship which was held at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium recently. During her stay in Guwahati she talked exclusively with The Sentinel. Here is the excerpt.
The Sentinel (TS): Tell us about your school USHA.
Usha: The basic idea to start Usha School of Athletics (USHA) at Kinalur in Kozhikode district was to train the young blood in Indian Athletics. I’m committed to athletics and I want to ensure my country’s win at any cost. Apart from training, the school also takes care of the study of the athletes, their exercise, diet, psychological counseling, attitude building etc. The school has already produced a few international athletes, including Tintu Luka.
TS: How would you like to describe the differences between your era and the present era of Indian athletics?
Usha: I feel the scenario of Indian athletics was much better during our days than what it is today. There were not too many facilities available in our time, but I have no hesitation to say that the level of competition was very high then.
TS: Why it’s happening? Any comment?
Usha: I feel athletes during our time were mentally very strong. You need a strong mind to shine in athletics. We never hesitated to work hard in the track and even ignored minor injuries. Unfortunately, such an attitude is missing amongst most of the current athletes. It’s hampering their progress.
TS: How do you see the future of Indian athletes?
Usha: Effort is on to put India among the best at the international level. The Athletic Federation of India (AFI) has already taken several steps to improve the performance level of our athletes. We can expect a big change in the coming days.
TS: Do we have enough talents in this discipline?
Usha: Yes. There is no dearth of athletic talents in India. What we need are systematic and scientific training facilities in each and every where in the country.
TS: Any suggestions to budding talents?
Usha: Stay focused on your goal and work hard to achieve that. One must understand that there’s no alternative to hard work one is running towards one’s goal.
TS: How do you see the future of Hima Das?
Usha: She has reminded me of my own days. I’ve been watching her for the last few months. In every competition Hima improved her timing. I exactly did the same during my early days of running. She is very hungry for success, and it is a very good sign. Hope she’ll bring laurels to the country from international meets.