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Anju Bobby George wants Indian athletes to make mark at Olympics

Anju Bobby George, former World Championship bronze medallist, says Indian athletes are capable enough to make a podium finish at the Olympics

other sports Updated: Jun 12, 2017 22:52 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Hindustan Times
Anju Bobby George,Olympics,Athletics
Anju Bobby George is currently the chairperson of Target Olympic Podium Scheme. (HT Photo)

Former World Championship bronze medallist Anju Bobby George believes Indian athletes are capable enough to make a podium finish at the Olympics as overall effort to raise the standard of sports in the country is tremendous.

“It is like never before in the history of Indian sport. Efforts in terms of training, facilities and exposure to our athletes are fascinating. It is the time for athletes to make a mark at the Olympics,” Anju told HT on Monday on the sidelines of the Fed Cup Junior Athletics Championship here.

“It is altogether a different atmosphere for sportspersons in India. The Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) is fantastic and things are moving in the right direction. We should hope for a podium finish by Indian athletes in Olympics,” said Anju, who is the chairperson of TOPS.

“A few years ago, we were preparing for one championship or one event, but now after having a long-term planning, we can compete with other developing countries in world sport. If countries like Ethiopia and Kenya can win medals at the international level, why can’t we?” she asked.

Long jumper Anju, who happens to be the first Indian athlete ever to win a medal in a world championship by jumping to 6.70 metre in 2003, refused to predict anything special by Indian athletes at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but hinted that javelin thrower like Neeraj Chopra could do something special.

“Athletes like Neeraj have proved their worth at the world level and we can hope for a medal from him at future Olympics,” said Anju, who also won a gold medal at the IAAF World Athletics finals in 2005.

“Athletics is everything for me and my mission is to help Indian athletes win Olympic medals. Even at my academy at Bangalore, I ask every athlete to aim for an Olympic medal as thinking big makes a difference,” said Anju, who is one of the observers of the ‘Khelo India’ project.

As many as three trainees of her academy have won medals at the championship here and it seems to be a big boost to the ace jumper of her time. “It is really fantastic to see my trainees winning medals in the domestic championship. I feel such results will keep me motivated to work hard further,” said Anju, who says she would try to let her daughter Ami to be an Olympic medallist in future.

“It’s too early to say this as she is just three-and-a-half years but I wish to help her win medal at Olympics. If not, I would like her to be an excellent human being in whichever area she likes to carry on her journey,” she said.

First Published: Jun 12, 2017 22:52 IST