Anju asks Indian athletes to compete more in global events
Legendary long jumper Anju Bobby Goerge says that the Indian athletes will continue to languish at the global stage until they aspire to compete regularly at top level international events.
Anju, the only Indian athlete to have won a medal in the World Championships with a long jump bronze in 2003, said that most of the Indian athletes pay emphasis on training rather than going out and competing at the international events.
She also feels that the top Indian athletes should now have managers of their own and embrace professionalism just like the Americans and the Europeans have been doing.
"Infrastructure is much better now than in our time, but the main thing is that we are stuck at where we are because our athletes are still believing only in training, we are not going out for international competitions," Anju said in an interview.
"Actually, we are doing only the training part which is the 50 per cent part. But peaking in competitions and peaking in high level competitions through Grand Prix and Diamond League events is not happening in India," she said.
Explaining further how an Indian athlete should go about if he or she wants success at the global stage, Anju said: "We are still believing that we can train hard in the country and go for World Championships or Olympics. That is not the correct way, that is not going to give you a medal in the Olympics or World Championships.
"That is not the way how the Americans or the Europeans are doing. You need to take part in other top level international competitions. I was doing in such a way (like the Americans or the Europeans were doing), that was why I got success at that level," she added.
Asked who will sanction the funds for taking part in these top-level international events, she said, "Sanctioning money is the government's job but it is also about athletes acting like a professionals.
"You are a professional athlete and your manager or coach should take care of everything...your travel, your training, your schedule, etc. All these you have to do, it is all about bringing professionalism in yourself. It is not the federation's job. The Americans and the Europeans, they are professional athletes and they are going all by their own.
"This is to be done individually. If you are in top 10 or top 20, you will get entry in these big international events, including in the Diamond League series. You have to apply for these events and if you are among the top bracket, you will get invited," she added.
Anju also stressed upon the need to groom athletes at the junior level to produce top performers at the senior level later on.