Bobby George looks to improve athletics in India

The Anju Bobby Sports Foundation aims to nurture talent in the 14-16 and 17-19 age groups from the underprivileged sections of society, and will initially focus on long jump and triple jump disciplines.

Mike Powell (left) unveils the logo of the Anju Bobby Sports Foundation as Anju Bobby George (right) looks on.   -  Special Arrangement

World record-holding long jumper Mike Powell on Saturday unveiled the logo of the Anju Bobby Sports Foundation in Bengaluru on Saturday.

Anju Bobby George’s husband and coach Robert Bobby George, in a telephonic chat with Sportstar, said the foundation “aims to solve the grassroots problems of athletics persisting in our country.”

“Athletics has a very weak foundation in India and we will look to change that,” he said.







Robert along with Anju will be directly involved in the training process and they expect more support from other athletes. The foundation aims to nurture talent in the 14-16 and 17-19 years age groups from the underprivileged sections of society, and will initially focus on long jump and triple jump disciplines.

The first batch of athletes will start training at the Sports Authority of India campus from June 1. “We have identified two talents already, who are 17-years-old, and we will take up to a maximum of 10 students. We don’t comprise on the quality of training, hence we are restricting ourselves to this small number. We first want to stabilise things at the foundation before we take in more,” said Robert.

Anju, who won the only World Championship medal in athletics, a bronze, for India in long jump in 2003, was guided by Powell in the USA in the run-up to the tournament. “We are very lucky that a sportsperson of Mike Powell’s stature is extending his support to our foundation and we hope he will devote more time next year, as long as we can afford to bring him here,” Robert said.

With respect to sponsorship, Robert said he expects corporates to help the foundation. “We have also spoken to the home minister and he was very positive about the foundation.”

He said Bengaluru is the ideal place for the foundation as it has the optimum weather and the required equipment for the development of future athletes. “The city also has a long tradition of developing sportspersons,” he added. He said that there will be no expansion to different centres and the foundation will focus all its resources on the city for the moment.

Anju is the foundation’s chairperson and Robert is the managing trustee.

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