Vikas Gowda, Commonwealth Games 2014 medallist in discus throwing, retires
Vikas Gowda retired after competing at the highest level for more than 15 years, during which he became the first and only Indian male to win Commonwealth Games medals in the discipline.Updated: May 30, 2018 17:56 IST
Vikas Gowda - India’s national record holder and Glasgow Commonwealth Games champion in men’s discus throw - has officially called it a day. The US-based athlete buried speculations surrounding his participation in the June 26-29 Inter-State Athletics meet at Guwahati, the final selection trials for the Asian Games 2018, by sending a communication to Athletics Federation of India (AFI) of his retirement.
The high point of Gowda’s international career spanning over a decade was the gold-medal winning feat in the 2014 edition of CWG. He became the second Indian to win gold after athletics legend Milkha Singh (440 yards) in 1958.
The towering thrower standing over six-foot six inch has been on the international circuit since 2002 when he participated in the junior world championships.In Indian athletics circuit, he was known as ‘Mr Consistent’ for his sustained efforts over a long period. He regularly crossed 65m from 2013 to 2015.
He was a product of the USA sports programme and was successful in the highly competitive NCAA circuit. Representing University of North Carolina, he was crowned NCAA champion in 2006.
Of the four Olympics appearance starting 2004, his best was the eighth position (64.79m) finish at 2012 London Games. Same year, he set a national record of 66.28m.
The national champion made his senior international debut during the 2004 Athens Olympics. His last and fourth appearance in the Olympics was in 2016 at Rio, where finished overall at 28th with a throw of 58.99m.
Overall, the Arjuna Awardee won nine medals (three of them gold in the three major internationals) ---- Asian Games, Asian Championships and CWG. After winning silver in 2010 edition of Delhi CWG, four years later he was crowned champion in Glasgow. However, he skipped recently concluded CWG in Australia.
At the fag-end of his career, he became injury prone. He struggled to regain his fitness in 2016. His last international appearance for India was Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar. He picked up bronze with a throw of 60.81m. After Asian meet, he said he might not continue with sports as he wasn’t able recovery from an old injury. He also got Padma Shri Award in 2017.
First Published: May 30, 2018 17:55 IST