Like other games, Athletics has been badly affected due to KOVID-19. The time thereafter has become quite challenging for them. As a result, six to eight months serious training has been affected which is a prime time for the preparation of the Olympics. But from an athlete`s point of view, the players cannot live without their game. I hope that everything will slowly return to normal. Even during this time the players worked on their fitness but are sure that gradually after the start of serious training, everything will be normal.
Start your game with caution
Now athletes will also have confidence that they can live with corona. All they need to do is to remove the fear arising out of this disease. Now the need is to start the game with caution. The biggest loss in the entire scenario has been of the sports industry. Apart from the athletes, TV sponsors, other sponsors and the entire industry has been badly affected. Now there is a possibility that when the games are fully restored, their sponsorship fees will be affected.
Re-schedule their training
Not only this, athletes also need to re-schedule their training. Fitness is another major challenge because there is a difference between working for fitness at home and working on the field. The effort will be to build slowly to get back to normalcy.
Exposure & facilities increase
The major change in athletics of my time and today`s and today`s athletics is the increase in exposure and advance facilities. Today recognition is more than of that time. There is no doubt that the government is more pro-active today. Take the example of grass root level activities, the work of searching talent through Khelo India has also started. Rural and urban areas are all connected with it. Now it depends on all the districts across the country as to how much they promote sports here. The situation was completely different in our time. We were able to get two to three events including state championships and national championships.
Started age group meet
As the President of the Bengaluru Urban Distt Athletics Association, I am promoting sports at the grass root level. After taking up this assignment, my first goal was to promote sports at the school level. The condition of sports at this level has deteriorated a lot before I took the charge. Apart from reviving it, I also paid a lot of attention at the district level, which let to the District Championship being held there every year. We started the championships for under 12, 14, 16 and 18 age groups.
We got a very good response in open and school level championships. Along with this, we also organized a championship at the club level to find talent and this work is going on even today. I am happy that competitions like the school Olympics are being held there and talent from our region has been able to register its participation at the national level too, which was almost over before.
This is all due to athletics
Today people often ask me whether I would like to be called as an athlete, social worker, educationist or film actor. To this, I tell them to let me be an athlete because all these opportunities have arisen for me because of being an athlete. The need is to grasp the opportunity. I took advantage of such occasions.
PT Usha, a legend
How can I forget that moment when I defeated PT Usha, who was Asia`s best athlete. Many people then said that it was a fluke. Although, I was very sad at that time but when I defeated PT Usha again, everyone appreciated me a lot. I received lot of love from the entire sports world. Actually, those moments were memorable for me because it was not easy to beat an athlete like PT Usha.
I enjoyed moments related to athletics and today my appeal to athletes is to make a heel peak to make such moments memorable.
(Author is an Arjuna Awardee in athletics & acted in many films)