IPL in athletics, Usha backs Coe’s proposal

Olympian and former Indian track and field athlete P.T. Usha felt that the glamorous Indian Premier League (IPL) sort of an athletic league will give a great fillip to world athletics in general and Indian athletics in particular.

P.T. Usha, who was in Vijaywada to witness the 33rd Coromandel National junior athletic championship at Guntur, said that club-level competitions should be encouraged in a big way among youngsters to keep them (athletes) busy.   -  PTI

Olympian and former Indian track and field athlete P.T. Usha felt that the glamorous Indian Premier League (IPL) sort of an athletic league will give a great fillip to world athletics in general and Indian athletics in particular.

Agreeing to the proposal made by International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) chief Sebastian Coe recently at London, the ‘Payyoli Express’ said the league will not only help athletes rake money but also enhance their competitive edge and achieve instant stardom.

Usha, who was here to witness the 33rd Coromandel National junior athletic championship at Guntur, said that club-level competitions should be encouraged in a big way among youngsters to keep them (athletes) busy.

READ: Athletics: Scheduling worries hit Junior Nationals

The Arjuna award winner said that though India was no match to the West at the infrastructure front, things were looking bright for the country as even small states were coming up with quality synthetic tracks. “I saw the first synthetic track at Moscow in 1980 when I went there to participate in the Olympic Games. Until then I was training on all sorts of surface - mud, sand, footpath and railway track. In countries like China, Russian and Germany, even schools have synthetic tracks”.

Usha said that more exposure meets for the seniors were a must. “These meets help them assess their standards and also get used to various weather conditions. In the same manner, juniors should be made to compete with the seniors to learn the art of raising the bar (of performance).

Highlighting the importance of dope test she felt the need of administering these tests during off season. “Conducting tests before the competition will not serve the purpose. The cream of athletes should be checked every six months. During the off season there should be random checks. These checks should be made mandatory to all major competitions”.

She took objection to dope test conducted only on the final day of the ongoing junior national athletic championship and strongly felt that there should not be any relaxation.

“National junior athletic meet is an importance meet as we select the contingent for the Asian and World junior meets and the top athletes will blossom into the future faces of Indian athletics and they should be groomed properly”,.

Usha said while she was not averse of foreign coaches and felt the need of proper understanding of the athletes. “The coaches should constantly update their knowledge and they should know their athletes well. They should know how much workload to be given and how to help them recover”.

Usha said though there was so much information available in the public domain through internet, coaches should not blindly follow the info and they should use their discretion based on the individual athlete.