New Delhi: They have brought laurels for the country at the major international events like Commonwealth Games and Asian Games but the trio of para-swimmer Prashant Karmakar, archer Deepika Kumari and gymnast Ashish Kumar feel that government still needs to upgrade its infrastructure and provide state-of-the-art training for consistent good results at the international meets.
The three athletes who won medals at the Delhi Commonwealth Games last October urged the government authorities to help sportspersons with proper facilities and financial backing keeping the 2012 London Olympics in mind.
"We need better infrastructure, upgradation of existing facilities, more foreign exposure and formal training to prepare ourselves for a big event like Olympics in 2012. The Commonwealth Games and Asian Games are now history and London Olympics are ahead of us and the government should assist us as we prepare for a big event," said Deepika.
Deepika, who won two gold medals at the CWG, has always been a vocal supporter of foreign coaches said,"If we want to prepare for the Olympics in right earnest, we would need a three to four month stint abroad --- preferably in South Korea, China or USA. Also a foreign coach is a must for doing well in at the London Olympics, where we have a realistic chance of winning medals."
She has recently been awarded with Outstanding Performance (Female) award at CWG by Sahara Sports.
Even 19-year-old Ashish, who turned a new leaf in the history of Indian sport winning medals at CWG and Asian Games is disappointed that he is not able to train with modern equipments which are lying with SAI since CWG got over.
"I created history at the Asian Games but it`s very difficult to repeat the same success at the Olympics as I need better facilities at the Allahabad academy where I train.
"During CWG, we were provided with latest equipments and that paid results during the Games but after that they are just lying with the SAI. You are wasting such costly equipments. Allow me and other gymnasts to practice on them so that we can bring more glory to the nation at the Olympics," said Kumar.
He also added that the Olympic qualifiers in gymnastics will be held in Japan next year and the way things are shaping up from the side of the sports ministry, it looks extremely difficult to qualify for the quadrennial extravaganza.
Para-swimmer Karmakar echoed same sentiments and said the government has not taken enough steps to provide more financial assistance to his sport and they should now need to approach things in a more professional manner.
"The government needs to think more professionally. I am not saying that government didn`t provide us with financial assistance. However the sports federations aren`t making optimum use of the government funds," Karmakar alleged.
"We still don`t have any heated pools in the country. In swimming, we have to compete in different categories and for the winter season, we need heated pools. How can you swim when the temperature is 3-4 degrees in the pool. In such conditions, you don`t produce medal winners."
While Karmakar said that he hasn`t received any money from the central government for his bronze medal winning feat at the CWG, Deepika is yet to receive cash award from the government for winning bronze medal at the Asian Games.
"I have not received any prize money from the side of the government. Yesterday, Haryana government honoured me for Asian Games giving Rs 15 lakh and a new mobile. Earlier for CWG, they had given me Rs 6 lakh, a car and an expensive mobile," said Karmakar.
"I have received 10 lakhs for CWG but for Asian Games, I am still waiting," said Deepika.
All three were speaking at an interactive session for aspiring young achievers organised by the TiE-Aspire Management Young Achievers forum at the Siri Fort Auditorium.