Legendary long jumper Anju Bobby George on Saturday said India has the talent to win more Olympic medals in athletics after superstar javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra opened the country’s account by winning a historic gold in the Tokyo Games. Anju, the lone World Athletics Championships medallist Indian with her bronze in 2003, said the athletes need proper guidance to achieve success.
“Indian athletes are good in technical events in Olympics but are yet to reach that level to win medals in sprinting and long distance running,” she said at the TV9 ‘What India Thinks Today’ Global Summit.
“We can win more Olympic medals in athletics. We need good coaches and facilities at grassroots. Through Khelo India Games, we are putting in effort but it will take time,” Anju said.
“Slowly, we will see the changes. Things are moving in a positive direction,” she added.
Chief badminton coach of the Indian badminton team Pullela Gopichand said India can fight for gold medals in all categories in the coming 4-8 years.
“To achieve that strong planning and execution and a scientific approach are needed,” he said.
“In the last eight years, Indian sports have grown a lot. Structures laid down by the government have started to show results. But still a long way to go.
“We have to identify talented players. Consistent scientific training with international exposure should be provided to them. The first step towards it is to identify players keeping in mind their physicality and talent,” Gopichand said.
Former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia said the country should target individual sports like China has done to win more medals.
He said India realistically should target 14 medals in the 2024 Olympics but winning 50 should be a long-term plan.
“Shooting is the biggest medal prospect at the Olympics. Badminton, wrestling and archery are also huge prospects,” he said.
On private investment in sports, Bhutia said academies set up by sportspersons is the way forward.
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