Vikas Gowda: 'Getting Padma Shri, highlight of my life'

Discus thrower Vikas Gowda during a felicitation function at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.   -  V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Discus thower Vikas Gowda, who was conferred with the Padma Shri award in New Delhi on Thursday, described the occasion as the highlight of his life.

“I was a little surprised when I was told that I was getting the award. I wasn’t expecting it,” Vikas said. “It was an amazing experience — the highlight of my life. To be in one room with so many accomplished dignitaries was phenomenal. It was a surreal experience.”

Vikas spoke on the sidelines of a felicitation function organised by the Karnataka Athletics Association and Indo-German Sports Club, at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Friday.

The 33-year-old, a four-time Olympian, has had to deal with injury concerns in recent times. This resulted in him exiting the 2016 Rio Olympics in the qualification stage. “I was injured the whole of last year. I tore my quad tendons. I wasn’t able to train for more than a month or two before Rio, so I knew it would take a lot to do well. I’m still not at a 100 per cent fitness,” he said.

The Mysuru-born Vikas, who now resides in USA, stated that he intends to work his way back into international action. His first major target is the Asian Athletics Championships, to be held in Bhubaneswar in July. “I will take part in small competitions when I get back to the USA, and then take it from there. The Asian Championship is my first main target. I have about three months to get ready," he said.