Gymnast Ashish Kumar rues lack of adequate training facilities

Gymnast Ashish Kumar expressed fears that his aim to win a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics may end up as an "unfulfilled dream" due to lack of adequate training facilities in the country.

Allahabad: Gymnast Ashish Kumar, who won
laurels at the Commonwealth and Asian Games last year, expressed fears that his aim to win a gold medal at the 2012
London Olympics may end up as an "unfulfilled dream" due to
lack of adequate training facilities in the country.

"Of late, I have begun to fear that the ambition may end
up as an unfulfilled dream," Kumar said here today.

"Last year was fantastic and had left me bubbling with
enthusiasm. After having bagged medals at both the
Commonwealth and the Asian Games, I had become confident that
I would be able to do my country proud at the London Olympics
due next year," he added.

The 20-year-old son of a railway employee, who bagged a
bronze and a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games before
winning a bronze at the Asian Games, to become the only Indian
to have achieved the feat, was speaking at a press conference
organised by his alma mater, the city-based National Sports
Academy (NSA).

"Ever since I won a medal for my country on the Chinese
soil, I have been confident of winning a medal, hopefully a
gold, at the Olympics. I have been training hard with a view
to realising the dream.”

"I do not think there would be much difficulty in getting
through the qualifiers which are to be held in Japan. But
thereafter it is going to be an uphill journey and that is
where prospects, as of now, do not appear bright," he said.

"I have been working as hard as I can. But that is not
enough when you are going to compete with the best in the
world. This is a realisation that is growing stronger within
me with every passing day.”

"I am grateful to all my countrymen for the affection
they have showered on me but I wonder whether if it will get
me an Olympic medal, considering the abysmal lack of
facilities here," the dejected gymnast said.

"I will give my best shot at the London Olympics, come
what may. But unless my training and preparations are backed
by adequate infrastructure, there is little likelihood of the
efforts bearing fruit," he said.

Speaking at the same press meet, NSA`s founder and the
gymnast`s mentor, UK Mishra, said he has already "taken up the
matter with the Ministry of Sports and the Sports Authority of
India", and claimed that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati
too, has given "assurance of all possible help".

"Last month Ashish was felicitated at Lucknow along with
other CWG medal winners from UP by CM Mayawati. I had taken
the opportunity to apprise her of the difficulties we are
facing on account of paucity of resources following which she
gave me the assurance of all possible help," Mishra said.

"Later, I wrote to the CM about equipments that we need
to help Ashish prepare for international meet, which involved
a cost of about Rs 15 crore.”

"I have also written to the Union Sports Ministry and the
Sports Authority of India regarding the help we need. Now, we
are awaiting their response," he added.



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