Gurmeet rues lack of foreign exposure ahead of Olympics

New Delhi: Although confident of a podium finish at the upcoming Olympics, Indian race walker Gurmeet Singh rued lack of support and proper exposure ahead of the London Games.

With the Olympics less than six months away, the athlete from Uttarakhand feels that ideally he should be participating in at least one race in a month, running up to the sporting extravaganza.

Gurmeet, who is been supported by Mittal Champions Trust in his cause, adds that the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) should not restrict its vision to the Indian shores only and should also look for the competitions overseas, where his skills can be put to test.

"I am not saying that I am not getting enough competition here but the federation should also try to send me to the foreign countries, so that, I can keep myself abreast with the upcoming challenge," Gurmeet said.

"It takes me around one month to recover from a particular race, so ideally I should walk in six different events before the Olympics, which would help me to understand the nuances of the competition in a better way.

"Human body is not always in the good shape, there are up and downs, the pre-Olympic competition will enable me to understand how to cope with those ups and downs," he added.

Gurmeet clocked 1:22:07 at the Phoenix Park in Dublin, Ireland in June last year to ensure himself a berth in the London Games.

The athlete has since then been working even harder under the watchful eyes of R Gandhi at the Bangalore`s SAI centre to realise his dream.

"I started training at the Bangalore`s SAI centre in 2010 and my only aim was to win a medal for my country. I missed the opportunity last time around but I want to make full use of it this time.

"I don`t want to leave any aspect of my game uncovered, which I would have to rue later on," said Gurmeet, whose wife L Deepmala Devi is also a national record holder in race walking.

Gurmeet, who is currently in NIS Patiala, expressed his discomfort at the northern centre and said he wants to go back to the Bangalore.

"I am not feeling good here," said Gurmeet, who has been called to spend a week at the facility in Patiala.

"There are lot of distractions here. I have a lot of friends here and you are compelled to meet them, which disturbs my daily routine and also is a big deterrent in maintaining my focus. Bangalore is calm and quiet," he pointed out.

The 26-year-old also rued the lack of quality supplements, which is an essential component of an athlete’s diet.

"They provide us with the supplements but that is not enough. Most of the times I end up spending from my pocket. How much can I purchase?," he asked.

"They should provide us with the standard supplements, which don`t have any doping challenge," he insisted.

The athlete also said the government should look into why the Indian athletes, despite fulfilling all the requisites, lag behind.

"We possess a strong work ethic, physically we are strong, in every respect we are good but we still lag behind, there needs to be a reason for that and the government should introspect where are we going wrong," he concluded.


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