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We need to improve competition at grassroot level: PT Usha

India’s ‘Sprint Queen’ PT Usha on Wednesday said there is a need to have more participation in athletics to promote competition and improve the performance.

‘The problem in our country is that there is no competition. In other countries they have many sprinters and they don’t have to go out to have competition (to improve themselves),’ Usha said at the KOOH Sports event, where she is roped in as the brand ambassador for an initiative.

‘Jessi (Joseph) is coming up very well and in two years she will give competition to Tintu (Luka). It is not only good for them but also the country.’

Elaborating further, she said, ‘For example, Tintu is the lone runner in 800 m. There is no competition for her over here. You take Kenya, they have 200 runners. They are getting competition. Like that we need to improve. That will only help. Grassroot level competition is important.’

The Olympian added that the facilities provided are better than what they were earlier but not to the standard of European nations.‘Compared to 70s and 80s, the infrastructure has improved. We are also sending the athletes out to get exposure. But still the facilities we have can’t be compared to that in Europe,’ she said.

KOOH Sports that is engaged in the business of sports promotion and education in the country today launched an initiative to scout talent at school level called ‘SpeedStar’.

The talent hunt will identify the fastest 100-meter runner in three categories--under 12, under 14 and under 16.

The programme will be rolled out in 11 cities, with close to 20,000 children participating and six of the national winners (boy and girl in each of the category) will travel to Australia for a week, where they will train.
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