Inderjeet: Testing frequency puts pressure

Inderjeet Singh strongly feels the presence of coach Pritam Singh will help in his performance at the Rio Olympics.

Inderjeet Singh adressing the gathering at the felicitation ceremony.   -  Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

Inderjeet Singh is realistic enough to admit that his personal best so far (20.65m) is not going to help him figure among the Rio Olympics heavyweights in men’s shot put. The burly athlete, towering above other Indian Oil sportspersons, said: “Medal will be decided after the 21m mark. I need to perform better.”

Inderjeet strongly feels the presence of coach Pritam Singh will help.

India’s largest-ever contingent for the Olympics does not include personal coaches in many disciplines. “My event lasts for just a day. A coach can keep track of things an athlete can miss, which can make a difference to performance.” He is also among elite athletes subjected to frequent testing, and regulations stipulate that he keep the testing authority aware of his whereabouts.

The strongman said: “Athletes should not be put under such pressure. I have given tests five times this year and they (testing authority) decide when the samples will be taken. They even came to my house and asked me to give samples. Sometimes it is blood sample, other times something else, the decision is theirs. We need to inform them about our location constantly. It is too much.”

“Athletes taking drugs to improve performance is unfair on others. I don’t feel my event will be hit by Russian absence. Poland, United States and Germany shot putters will be there at Rio.”

Answering a query about the Zika scare to athletes assembling in Rio next month, he played down the dangers. “We will go there and get the job done. Zika does not affect us Indians, our immunity is better than the rest.”

Inderjeet felt former Olympians need support. “When the Olympics arrive, we come under the spotlight. There are many Olympians who won medals for India in different sports, but in tough times, they are struggling due to lack of support.”