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‘Indian athletes need financial support’

Olympian Jata Shanker Mishra minces no words in saying that it is unwise to expect Indian athletes to win medals at the Olympics and other prestigious international athletic meets in the absence of proper financial support.

Written by Wajiha Shah | Lucknow | Published: February 12, 2009 3:07 am

Olympian Jata Shanker Mishra minces no words in saying that it is unwise to expect Indian athletes to win medals at the Olympics and other prestigious international athletic meets in the absence of proper financial support.

Talking to The Indian Express,the seasoned athlete who represented India in the 2000 Sydney Olympics explained,“Indian athletes are poor. A proper running shoe costs anything between Rs 6,000 to 7,000 while the kit costs Rs 3,000. It is generally seen that athletes belong to the financially weaker section of the society. They practice with inferior quality shoes and even barefoot and often run in national championships wearing borrowed shoes. When they do not practice in those shoes,how can you expect them to win medals at the spur of the moment. They need financial support for their kits and diet from the government as well as from different companies.”

The 1998 and 2002 Asian Games silver medallist who is an inspector with the Uttar Pradesh Police is giving the game back what the game has given him. “I feel that every player must do something for their respective sport. I train the athletes of Uttar Pradesh Police daily from 7.00 am to 9.00 am in the morning session and from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm in the second session at the athletic stadium of 35th Bn PAC,Lucknow. Twelve of my trainees are participating in the 57th All India Police Athletics Meet in progress at Lucknow and one of them has already won a silver in the five-day championship with three days still to go.”

He is quite happy with the facilities available at the athletic stadium of 35th Bn PAC. “Earlier the facilities were not up to the mark but now they are so good that prestigious national championships can be organised here. I am sure the athletes will benefit from this.”

At 39,though the gold medallist of the 1999 and the 2003 World Police Games still desires to compete with fellow athletes on the tracks. “I wanted to take part in the my favourite event— the 400m race,during the 30th National Veterans Athletics Championship commencing from Thursday at Lucknow,but I did not as the dates clashed with the Police athletics meet and as a coach I am more worried about the performance of my trainees .”

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