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India must focus on talent hunt: Christie

other Updated: May 27, 2012 00:18 IST
Saurabh Duggal
Saurabh Duggal
Hindustan Times
Linford Christie

Former Olympic 100m champion Linford Christie is surprised why India has not been able to produce a world-class sprinter.

“India is a huge country with more than one billion people. At times, it surprises me why there is not a single top-level sprinter from this part of the world,” says the British 1992 Olympic champion, who is in Bangalore as a brand ambassador for the TCS World 10k race.

“When Indians can do well in boxing in the world arena, why not in athletics? Boxing requires endurance as well as strength and by winning an Olympic medal in it, Indians have proved they are strong. If world-level boxers can be produced here, why not top sprinters?”

The root of the problem, he feels, lies in scouting talent. “It is impossible to accept there is no talent that can be nurtured into a world-class sprinter. The only problem is nobody is catching the right talent.

“There should be a proper system where kids can be groomed to achieve excellence in sports,” says Christie.

“This is my third visit to India and I can see there is too much pressure of academics on the kids. Parents should understand sport is also a good career option provided it is pursued in a proper manner.”

Christie said India must find world-class coaches. “Another important point where India should be serious about is the training of coaches. India should get the world’s top-level coaches. They should not only train the athletes, they should also educate the local coaches. It will automatically improve the overall performance.”

The writer's trip has been sponsored by Procam