After wrestling, athletics needs government patronage in Uttar Pradesh
The government of Uttar Pradesh has already embraced wrestling until the 2032 Olympics, but athletics also requires government patronage for at least the next 10 years, according to those associated with the sport here.
Recently, the Indian Athletics Federation called Uttar Pradesh runner Priyanka Goswami “excellent” among all Indian athletes at the Tokyo Olympics, even though she finished 17th. That was not all as AFI, in its post-Tokyo analysis, also chose Uttar Pradesh as the hub for junior athletes and decided to run its talent search program with four other states in Punjab, from Haryana, Kerala and Karnataka.
Daughter of a bus driver “suspended” with UP State Road Transport Corporation, Goswami, who with three throwers Shivpal Singh (javelin, Varanasi), Annu Rani (javelin, Meerut) and Seema Punia (disc, Meerut), represented the India at the Summer Olympics recorded a time of 1 h 32 min 36 seconds, well beyond her personal best of 1 h 28 min 45 s, which she had achieved in the national open championship of walking in Ranchi in February.
Before athletics in Uttar Pradesh could effectively start in the 1980s, even though the state body was affiliated with the national federation in 1965, Vijay Singh Chauhan from Agra had won a gold medal in the decathlon at the 1974 Asian Games after becoming the state’s first athlete. participate in the Munich Olympics in 1972.
Almost 20 years later, middle distance runner Bahadur Prasad went on to back-to-back Olympics in 1992 in Barcelona and 1996 in Atlanta. Subsequently, athletes like Mau’s Jatashanker (4x400m relay, Sydney Olympics), Ram Singh d’Agra (marathon, Beijing Olympics), Sudha Singh de Rae Bareli (steeplechase, Olympics London and Rio) and Sanjay Rai de Chandauli (long jumper), who was the first Indian athlete to cross the 8-meter mark at the Sydney 2000 Olympics continued to try his luck for a medal at the Quadrennial Games.
More than two dozen athletes from the state including Madhuri Saxena, mother of new Indian middle distance running queen Harmilan Kaur Bains, Gulab Chand, Ajay Kumar Saroj, Shivpal Singh, Seema Punia, Annu Rani, Priyanka Goswami, Hridayanand, Suresh Patel, Suman Devi. Pramod Tewari etc., has continued to make his presence felt at the Asian Games, Asian Championships and even World Championships.
Surprisingly, a force to be reckoned with in middle distance, marathon and to some extent in throws, especially hammer and discus, Uttar Pradesh athletes have done it all on their own as they don’t have received no support from the state government or the UP Athletics Association. .
In real terms, even now they do not have adequate international facilities for sport. The only synthetic track with limited facilities at Guru Gobind Singh Sports College in Lucknow is far from within the reach of athletes. The other center in Saifai is almost closed. Two other facilities, namely at the Sports Authority of India center and at the 35th Battalion, PAC Stadium in the state capital, are not intended for everyone.
Former Indian throwing coach Rustam Khan also does not have adequate facilities in Kaushambi, but his sports stadium is inundated with more than 100 athletes, including 60 from Haryana, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. .
“It has been too hectic for me these days as I have over two dozen javelin throwers including 8-10 youngsters in the 7-12 age group and they all want to follow Neeraj Chopra’s passion “said Khan under the tutelage of four Indians. won medals, including two in the javelin and two in the hammer at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games.
He said, however, that for the youngsters he has achieved 300g and 400g javelins, while 15 other seniors train with their own or government sponsored javelins at the center.
“We have to import enough javelins and even in the past we had this facility when I was posted to Jaunpur last year,” said Khan, sports manager at the UP Sports Directorate.
UP’s first Olympian, Vijay Singh Chauhan, is also advocating for facilities for the state’s athletes.
âIf we had had proper facilities in our time, we could have won many medals at the Olympics. Even now the athletes of Uttar Pradesh are fighting for the facilities and even then we have good results nationally and internationally, âhe said.
He supported the UP Athletics Association’s demand for the UP government to adopt athletics for the next 10 years.
âI was told there was a mad rush of young athletes, looking to practice throws, especially javelin, since Neeraj Chopra’s success at the Tokyo Olympics, at various locations across the State and government should take advantage of this enthusiasm by embracing the sport because it embraced wrestling, âsaid Chauhan, who was namedâ Iron Man of Asia âfor his superlative show at the 1974 Asian Games.
âUttar Pradesh has no shortage of athletic talent and has produced athletes who have brought laurels to the state and the nation too. Unfortunately, these athletes do not have modern facilities to train, âUPAA Secretary PK Srivastava wrote to CM Yogi Adityanath while urging the government to embrace the sport for the next 10 years.
âThe limited existing facilities in the state can be used for basic training purposes. Uttar Pradesh needs at least 10 tracks in places like Meerut, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Prayagraj, Kanpur, Lucknow, Aligarh, Moradabad, Ayodhyay, Jhansi, etc. âSrivastava said.
When presenting a comparative study in support of his request to the CM, Srivastava mentioned the availability of sports facilities in Haryana (20 tracks) and Kerala (10 tracks), said the future of the ‘UP in athletics was promising, but needs government patronage now.