Usha: 'Ready to tap crowdfunding platforms to enable young athletes'

P. T. Usha said she has tied up with Milaap.org, a crowdfunding platform, and has raised Rs. 3.3 lakh out of the four campaigns her school had conducted for her athletes.

“People talk of myself, Milkha Singh and Sriram Singh missing medals by narrow margins. That should not happen again," said P. T. Usha.   -  SHREEDUTTA CHIDANANDA

Former sprint star P.T. Usha has sought 'crowd-funding' to help young athletes at her academy meet their training expenses. The Usha School of Athletics in Kinalur, Kerala, has joined hands with Milaap.org, a crowd-funding platform, to raise money for Usha's trainees.

“With small contributions, we can do a lot. My aim is to deliver an Olympic medal. But I can't do it alone,” said Usha here on Friday. “People talk of myself, Milkha Singh and Sriram Singh missing medals by narrow margins. That should not happen again. Even if we get a single medal in athletics, things will change.”

Four of the academy's 19 athletes have initially been featured on the platform with their requests for support. The campaign for Abitha Mary Manuel, who won a bronze medal in the women's 800m at the 2015 Youth Commonwealth Youth Games, has collected a sum of Rs.1.12 lakh from 43 supporters so far.

“We recruit five or six new athletes every year. But from that many, we can unearth only one world-class talent after years of training. We want to spread the bottom-line and recruit 40. Right now, we are not in a position to do so,” said Usha.

She added: “We are a charitable institution, and have been helped both by the government and by private donors. But with more support, we can do a lot more.”

The 53-year-old would not be drawn on the subject of her biopic, however. “It is still in the initial stages,” she said. “You will know when it comes out.”