IOA President PT Usha makes bold predictions for 2024 Paris Olympics after overwhelming success for India at the Asian Games
Usha says India will also win more medals at the Asian Games in Hangzhou in the last three days. She credits PM Narendra Modi’s long term vision and leadership.
(Image via FirstSportz)
Indian Olympic Association President PT Usha has seen the Asian Games and the Olympics very closely. The first, was an outstanding athlete when she blazed the tracks and earned the title of Sprint Queen. In Hangzhou, as head of the NOC (National Olympic Committee), Usha has been visiting various venues to soak in the atmosphere.
On a night when javelin star Neeraj Chopra once again covered himself in a blaze of glory, this time alongside Kishore Jena, Usha was bold in her predictions on what lies ahead for Indian sport. Speaking to FirstSportz exclusively on Wednesday, Usha was emphatic in stating all this has happened because of the leadership shown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“I am very happy that after I became the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President, our Indian athletes are winning more medals. We have crossed the 70 mark (tally at the last Asian Games) and we will win more medals. Our athletes are putting in more than 100 percent effort. There are still four more days to go for the Games to go,” said an elated Usha.
When Usha, a Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament, became the IOA President in December 2022, there was a general feeling an athlete as the IOA boss would be good for the country. She talked about better coordination and how the best facilities are being provided to athletes today.
“We are winning in most of the sports, not just athletics, shooting and rowing. I went to the squash courts and they are also doing good. I am happy in that most of the events India is performing. It is because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s long term vision and initiative, India are doing well and becoming a sporting nation.”
“There are more incentives for athletes today. We have the best coaches and physios. There is great coordination today between the various agencies which includes the Government, Sports Authority of India, National Sports Federations and the IOA. There are certainly good governance practices as well now,” explained Usha. “This is team work and the IOA is coordinating. We will do well in the future,” added Usha.
PT Usha knows what exactly is needed for athletes to succeed
Not long ago, Usha was also a personal coach for well-known athlete Tintu Luka. The experience of being a top athlete, then running her coaching center in Kerala and now hands-on administrator is helping Usha as the big boss of the IOA.
“I hope that we will win more gold medals in Hangzhou in the remaining four days. Top facilities are already being provided to the Indian athletes. I am sure we will do well in the Paris Olympics also next year,” added Usha. “Much better performance will come next year,” stressed Usha.
“In my time, actually there were not really much facilities. With my willpower and hard work, I did well,” said Usha. Her reference was to the way she dominated events in Asia in the eighties even against Lydia De Vega from the Philippines. For the record, Usha won 23 medals in Asian Track and Field.
The saddest part for Usha and her fans was finishing fourth in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics in the 400-meter hurdles event. It was a miss by a close margin which tugs at the hearts of so many athletics lovers in India even today. Video replays of it still churn many.
From 1984 till now, Indian athletics has grown by leaps and bounds. Usha is a witness to it. So, if she is saying India will be a sporting nation soon, she means it. To have been a champion, then coach, and now overseeing sporting matters of the nation, she has great vision.
Today, it is not about just one athlete. There is great depth in Indian sports and new champions are emerging. Hopefully, Usha’s prediction will come true, more medals not just in Hangzhou but also in Paris.
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