Indians want aths medals

Also-rans try to get in the running for 2012 Olympics

Matthew Beard, Sports News Correspondent


The London Olympics are three years away, but these athletes are already getting ready by training on an East End running track.

They need to: this is the Indian team - the weakest in Games history.

In a drive to overcome that dubious distinction they have set up a training camp down the road from the Olympic Park. The mission: to win India its first athletics medal since 1900.

The nation has won only 20 medals including that year. Beijing last year was their best - two bronzes and a gold - but with a population of a billion, that’s roughly one medal for every 333million people.

Over the next six weeks, some 40 leading athletes will be put through their paces at Terence McMillan Stadium in Plaistow, following high-level orders to bring home titles from the world’s greatest sports event.

The team has 22 coaches, physiotherapists and dietitians.

Under a strict regime, athletes train twice a day, six days a week, and are early to bed at their hotel in Epping Forest.

They are acclimatising to unpredictable weather and learning to switch to high-protein European diets.

And they will be able to see the stadium they hope to compete in rising long before their rivals do.

Team manager Rahul Pawar, 32, said: “We want an athletics medal in 2012. That is our target and that is why we have come here. We are getting used to the weather - some of these athletes have come from temperatures of 40C - and are familiarising ourselves with the area. It gives you an important psychological edge. We will leave no stone unturned for 2012.”

Mr Pawar said it was too early to identify a potential 2012 medallist. The top achievement of their best 400metres runner, KM Binn, was to get to the semi-finals at the 2004 Athens Games.

For most of the athletes their best early chance of success will be on home turf next year at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Shotputter Omprakash Singh, 22, said: “I want gold at the Commonwealth Games but the pressure is really on us for the Olympics. It’s been all about cricket for so long in India, but the Olympics is the big international stage.”

India’s leaders, prompted by the state-sponsored sporting excellence of China, have been investing about £150million a year in sport. India is rated the poorest Olympic nation judged by medals per head of population.

Track and field has not delivered a medal since 1900, when it was under British rule and Calcutta-born Norman Pritchard came second in the 200metre sprint and 200metre hurdles.

The 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona Games passed without a single medal. There was further ignominy when the men’s hockey team, with eight golds since 1928, failed to qualify for Beijing. It prompted national soul searching.

Even so, Beijing was a relative success. There were two bronzes and Abhinav Bindra won the 10metre air rifle.

Mr Pawar said: “Up until now the government has had other priorities such as education and infrastructure. We were dependent on agriculture and the main concern was when it was going to rain. Now we want it to rain medals.”

I dont think winning medals is priority when 60% of the country suffer from malnutrition.

Compared with how much money the country has as a whole and how much would be required to rectify the various social problems, the finances required to train a team for the olympics are miniscule. They can’t close down all projects that are unessential and put all their money into getting people food. A society needs a culture as well as food and water.

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Any nation that can do as well in weightlifting as India can also do well in track if they have the right environment and circumstances. Weightlifters and sprinters derive from prettymuch the same explosive physiology (for want of a better explanation).

The guy who won the 1962 Empire/Com Games 100y and 220y was of Indian origin (specifically from Goa), representing Kenya.

Seraphino Antao

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Seraphino Antao (born October 30, 1937) is retired runner from Kenya. He won two events at the 1962 Commonwealth Games, making him the first Kenyan athlete to win a gold medal at an international level [1]. He is of Asian origin (specifically Goan), from low altitude coastal city of Mombasa and was a sprinter, making him atypical Kenyan athlete.

[edit] Early career
Seraphino Antao grew up in Ganjoni and Makupa estates of Mombasa. He is a son of Diogo Manuel and Anna Maria and has six siblings. While at Goan High School he took several sports but inclined towards short distance running. In 1957 he broke the Kenyan 100 and 220 yards records [1].

He competed at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales, but without much success [1]. Two years later Antao competed at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy, where he reached 100 metres semi finals [2] and 200 metres second round [3].

[edit] Commonwealth success and later career
1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia marked the highest point of his career, when he won 100 and 220 yards gold medal. He was also member of the Kenyan 4 x 440 yards relay team which finished fifth. Other members of the relay team were Wilson Kiprugut, Kimaru Songok and Peter Francis [4]. The same year he won two gold medals (100 and 220 yard) at the British AAA Championships, which he attended couple of times [5]. He also won several gold medals at the East and Central African Championships [6].

Kenya had gained independence in December 1963 and Antao became the first Kenyan Olympic flagbearer at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan [4], but was ill and did not perform as well as expected at the track [7]. He reached 200 metres second round [8] but was eliminated at the heats of 100 metres [9]

After the olympics, he retired from the sport and moved to London, England where he still lives [1]. In 2003 he made a rare visit to Kenya attending the 50th anniversary of Kenya Amateur Athletics Association (today Athletics Kenya) [10].

Even with excellent education most of your group have zero intellectual ability!

I remember when reading about Bruce Lee that he incorporated some of his material from the works of the Indian wrestler Gama who was supposed to be a very great wrestler during his time. I was also able to find through Wikipedia that Sushil Kumar, an Indian, won a bronze medal in Beijing in Olympic Freestyle Wrestling.

I’ve been to India before and I think the main problem is that most of the population care very little about athletics and their lifestyles reflect that. I couldn’t find a single track while I was in Hyderabad city, but there were numerous walking parks. Their idea of fitness is to walk around for half an hour because you need to have a certain daily amount of exercise. I spent my time there running around an artificial lake trying not to hit people that were power walking.

I often wondered why Indian students academically excel, especially in the field of physics. You will find that cultural factors are predominating. For example the demographic that I live in is multi-cultural however a visit to the local library shows predominately Chinese and Indian parents with their kids reading books. I believe this cultural focus on academics prepares Indians for high academic achievement. Now I rarely find Melanesian and Polynesian kids in the library and you will find that these groups do not score as high in The University Admission Index (UAI) but I don’t think the answer is that their less intelligent, simply there is less focus on academics.

In terms of sport the average Indian does not have a cultural focus sports in general. If we look at eye hand co-ordination sports, Indians are gifted in these sports eg cricket & golf, they excel in power sports Olympic lifting.

Indians generally don’t seem too interested in athletics, but with the Commonwealth Games coming to Delhi next year that may initiate awareness, acceptance and change.

Sri Lankans on the other hand have long produced the occasional sprinter and hurdler.

Who could not be aware of the Tamil separatist movement in Sri Lanka, but I wonder if the island’s sprinterswere Tamils or of the same group as the majority who live predominantly in the Indian subcontinent?

India had a pretty good 400m / 400 H in PT Usha in the mid 1980s, a good athlete and nice lady.

Sri Lanka has had success in the women’s 200m (a medal in Sydney Olympics) and there was an Australian woman who won a medal in the 100m and in both relays at the 98 Comm Games in Kuala Lumpur. She was Sri Lankan and moved to Australia. She was the only Aussie who had Cathy Freeman’s number, but she was the only one who didn’t realise that and go on with the job. Never came close to fulfilling her physical potential as an athlete IMO. Can’t even think of her name now.

tania van heer kk??

thanks Gofast, that’s her. There was a 200m race - she ran 22.42 +2.0 - in 1999 (a season or two before the Sydney Olympics anyway) where she smashed Freeman so badly that I think I read Cathy pulled out of the race (alleging cramp???). Then things got weird with van Heer and she lost the plot, quit the sport, didn’t event make the Olympic relay… but management of difficult individuals has never been a strong point for most national federations. Mind you, Van Heer was difficult, pretty wacky but very sweet.

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Tamil Sri Lankans share the common genetic heritage as Southern Tamil Indians.I refer to the quote below to provide further information on this topic.

"India, being a center stage for modern human dispersals, is a diverse human genetic pool drawn from widely divergent cultures, religions, languages, and geographic backgrounds (Gadgil et al. 1997). Human diversity in India is characterized by 4,635 documented communities, constituting 2,205 major population groups (Singh 1998), 461 tribal communities (Singh 1992), 20 major languages, and approximately 750 dialects (Kosambi 1991). These groups reflect diverse ethnic populations (Australian, Indo-Caucasian, Indo-Asian, and African descent) and linguistic groups (Indo-European, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic, and Tibeto-Burman). Most of these ethnic populations belong to the Hindu religious fold, which is socially systematized into endogamous hierarchical castes and subcastes (Mukherjee et al. 2001).(Census of India 2001).

Genetic Affinity Between Diverse Ethnoreligious Communities of Tamil Nadu, India:

Essentially there is European African & Asian genetic influence within the Indian population. Hence the terms Indo-Caucasian, Indo-African, Indo-Asian. I don’t think the generic term of Indian is suffice when referring to Indians. Within the group large clear separate racial groups exist with varied origins.

Getting back to the topic of athletics and winning medals the main limiting factor is cultural and socio-economic. The gene pool is phenomenal to so say the least.


Even with excellent nutrition, most Indians have zero athletic ability!

You really starting to sound racist. And you should review your posts before sending them.

This is not a place for posts of this nature and if you wish to make sweeping racist generalisations I am sure there are plenty of forums on net where you can do this.

On a personal note I am sure you are aware with who I am and if you wish to say something than you are welcome to address this in person, however I am sure that you will decline.

Neospeed, does the fact you’ve posted more than 300 comments and you are now in the red zone on the rep power front give you a clue as to how unpopular you seem to have made yourself? Two posts on this thread alone could be construed as racist. Please offer constructive views and play the game. kk

Ok, apologies for any offence taken. I have deleted my 2 posts. Now, please give me back my rep power before I hang myself! :smiley:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009Athlete turns Sex worker to feed family

Posted by Admin at 7:54 AM . Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Labels: Athlete, India, Sex worker

From being lauded on the podium to landing in jail as a call girl in Chhattisgarh, this is a tale of how India treats its non-cricketing sportspersons.

Driven by poverty, a former national-level athlete took to prostitution and was on Saturday arrested from Raipur’s posh Devendra Nagar locality.

Nisha Shetti, 26, who represented Assam in athletics at the National Games in 1998, was forced into the flesh trade by unemployment and her husband’s death in 2007.

She is believed to have told the police that she took to the trade to fend for herself and her five-year-old daughter. A court in Raipur later granted her bail on a surety of Rs 10,000, but since she did not have the money, Shetti remains in jail.

All that local sports administrators are doing is expressing sympathy. “The least we can do is to secure bail for her,” said Mohammed Akram, secretary, Chhattisgarh Volleyball Association. But that hasn’t happened.

Six years ago, Nisha won a high-jump silver medal at a national-level athletics meet in Pune. That was the year she fell in love with and married Sunil Shetti, who represented Assam in football, against her family’s wishes.

A senior policeman, who has seen Nisha’s interrogation report, told HT on condition of anonymity that soon after their daughter’s birth in 2004, Sunil began suffering from depression and developed a drinking habit after being repeatedly overlooked for government jobs.

In February 2007, Sunil died of kidney failure. Nisha, a homemaker then, was shattered. “We were wrong to nurture hopes of getting a government job on the sports quota,” she told the court.

Desperate for a job, she moved to Mumbai about a year ago in search of one, only to land in a prostitution racket.

According to the Raipur police, Nisha and the two other women had agreed to spend a week with three businessmen in return for Rs 50,000. The police have also arrested the businessmen.

“All talk of reservations for women in Parliament and empowerment is useless if we can’t ensure jobs for talented women athletes,” said Indian Olympic Association joint secretary Basheer Ahmed Khan.

Six-member Indian team for Worlds

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has selected a six-member team to participate in the World Championships to be held in Berlin from August 15 to 23.

The selection committee which met here on Monday decided to ignore the cases of several athletes who had achieved qualifying standards since they were either not competing this season because of injuries or other reasons or were in very poor form.

Triple jumper Amarjeet Singh, who had jumped 16.77m last season as against the qualifying mark of 16.65m could not make the cut since he had been struggling to touch even 15.20m this season. The U.S.-based Vikas Gowda, though he had a norm of 64.83m, is yet to compete this season, nursing an injury in recent months.

Javelin thrower Anil Kumar Singh (National record of 80.72m in Bhopal last year, qualifying mark 78.0m) has had a best of only 73.47m this year.

Among women, discus thrower Harwant Kaur (61.09m last year) had a season best 54.07m, while distance runner Preeja Sreedharan was on the injured list, having achieved the standard with her 32:04.41 in the 10,000m.

Quarter-miler Mandeep Kaur had a 51.74s in Madurai last year, enough to make it, but has managed only a best of 54.99s this year.

The women’s 4x400m relay team had qualified on the strength of its last year’s performance, but with almost all the runners in poor form, it was decided to drop the team.

Among those selected, heptathlete Susmita Singha Roy, though she is not in any peak form (season best 5366 points), was given the nod since she was considered to be promising and a good prospect in next year’s Commonwealth Games.

The team:

Men: Surendra Kumar Singh (10,000m), Joseph Abraham (400m hurdles) and Babubhai Panocha (20km walk).

Women: Krishna Poonia, Seema Antil (discus) and Susmita Singha Roy (heptathlon).