DOHA, May 13 (AFP) - The first Indian athlete to win a world championship medal has launched a strongly-worded attack on the authorities back home for neglecting sports, warning their
attitude could lead to another disappointing show at the Olympics.'' Anju Bobby George's leap of 6.70m fetched her the bronze at the world championships in Paris last year, finally putting cricket-mad India on the medals table of the most prestigious track and field competition. Adulation accompanied by riches followed her success but George is disappointed that the government since then hasnt done enough to help the country win a long overdue medal in athletics at the Olympics this August. The government has failed to do its duty in the improvement of sports,’’
George told Qatars Gulf Times newspaper on Thursday in which she also took potshots at the Indian politicians while expressing her total disgust at the system in her country.
The ministers are not efficient,'' she said. If the government wants medals in top events theywill have to provide world class facilities to the athletes. The infrastructure needs to be improved drastically and scientific methods have to be introduced in all aspects of sports.’’
George, who is hoping to win Indias first medal in athletics at the Olympics in 104 years, was furious that not much was being done in India to encourage athletes, saying Indian sports fans were in for another disappointment at this years Games in Athens.
It wont be just the athletes who will be forced to endure the humiliation but also every Indian who dreams of an Olympic medal,'' she warned. Still if an Indian manages to win a medal in Athens, it will be only because of his or her hard work and not due to any help from the government authorities,’’ said the Asian Games and Commonwealth champion.
George, who is currently ranked sixth in the world, said she was now tired of approaching the government for help and focusing only on her preparations for the Olympics.
Her husband and coach Bobby pointed out they had requested the Indian authorities to provide modern equipment to facilitate her training at the Sports Authority of Indias Bangalore centre.
Unfortunately, it fell on deaf ears,'' he said. George, who finished fourth in the Osaka Grand Prix last week, will be taking part in the Qatar Super Grand Prix here on Friday in the run-up to Athens. There are expectations from me but I am not under pressure. I cant afford pressure to get to me because it affects the performance,’’ she said referring to her Olympic chances.
Indias Olympic record has been dismal considering the countrys huge population with most of its success coming in hockey which for sentiments sake is still considered the national sport despite the overwhelming popularity of cricket.
Indias only two Olympic medals in athletics were won in 1900 when Norman Pritchard, an Anglo Indian holidaying in Paris, somehow managed to get his name into the Indian team and won two silver medals in the 200m sprint and the 200m hurdles.
In fact, Pritchard, about whom nothing much is known, was actually the first medal-winner at the Olympics from an Asian country.