Long jump world record holder Mike Powell first visited India in 1993 to attend an athletic competition in New Delhi. In 2004, he came to the city to participate in the Mumbai Marathon. And now, he is in the country for a promotional event. And the first thing that comes to his mind at the slightest mention of India is Bollywood.
“I like Hindi movies. They come across as a Broadway show. I love the singing and dancing,” he says, adding that he himself enjoys crooning sometimes. But quiz him on which film he recently watched and he smiles. “I’ve seen many Bollywood movies, but I don’t remember their names. Usually, I watch them while traveling and a few times in the US. I know the stars too. I’m familiar with their faces, but I don’t remember their names,” he adds.
Powell will also attend an event sponsored by International Association Of Athletics Federation (IAAF) to give athletics a stronger platform in the country. “India doesn’t really have organisational facilities for sports. There is a large population, so we should have the time, money and efforts to develop infrastructure facilities. People walking on the road could be good at badminton or basketball... one never knows,” he says.
Powell retired from athletics in 1996 and now works as an ambassador for the IAAF, as well as a motivational speaker. “I feel lucky to have had a long career. I don’t really miss being an athlete since coaching keeps me busy.”
On Saturday, Powell also visited the JK Singhania School in Thane and interacted with the children. “It was great to see that some of the children are so talented. It gives us confidence that once IAAF backed facilities are operational, children like these will get a chance to hone their talent,” adds Powell, who is currently in India for a promotional event for Nirmal Lifestyle.