Former Indian athlete Anju Bobby Geroge who is currently the chairperson of TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) said although Nagpur has produced several long distance runners, the city lacks the facilities for athletics.
She was in the city to open the athletics meet organised during Khasdar Krida Mahotsav on Sunday.
She said “I know Nagpur is known for long distance athletes but at the same time we need to upgrade the facilities in the city with the government support. It requires collective efforts to upgrade the facilities”, she said.
Asked about the prospects of Indian athletes in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna awardee athlete Anju Bobby George said it was not easy to win Olympics medal in the athletics for India. “As compared to Commonwealth Games and World Championship it is not easy for the Indian athletes to win the medal in Olympics. The standard is altogether different in Olympics”.
Asked the reason behind it, Anju who won the gold medal at the IAAF World Athletics Final in 2005 said, “You all know the situation in India. We need more track and facilities which are not enough. Our junior athletes are really doing well. We have world record holder javelin thrower. We can’t predict anything at the present”, she said.
About increasing menace of doping in athletics she said, “Doping is nothing but crime. We can’t curb it just as we can’t stop the crime. We need to teach the athletes after effects of doping. I myself am a victim of doping. Instead of blaming coaches, we need to do research because lot of information is available everywhere”, she said.
Anju who runs an athletics academy at Bengaluru has lamented that Indian coaches are not getting much exposure. “After one stage we need to shift out athletes to next level of coaches which is not happening in India. In some specific events we need foreign coaches”.
However Anju who got 5th position with personal best score at 2004 Athens Olympics said nowadays the athletics federation is doing a great job by conducting the camps and organising the competitions. “But at the same time I would like to say athletics is not getting much support from the companies as compared to cricket”, she said.