Kolkata: Indian long distance runner Lalita Babar believes athletes can win medals only if they are given the best of facilities to train on.
"For your athlete to win an Olympic medal, you ought to give the best facilities," Babar told IANS in an interview.
She complained that there are only a few synthetic tracks in the country and none of them is of world class. Along with other long distance runners like OP Jaisha and Sudha Singh, Babar runs on roads to train.
"You see, most of my records have been made outside India, the facilities outside are really much better. It enhances our performances. Here we practice by running on roads. Where are the competition tracks here? Those which are here are not up to the international standards, the one we will get in Rio. But then again, we have to work within the facilities being provided to us," she said.
Her gold medal in steeplechase at the Asian Championships in Wuhan this year helped her comfortably qualify for the Olympics at Rio. But, the 26-year-old would have gone to Rio otherwise too. She clocked her personal best in the Mumbai marathon, 2 hours 38 minutes and 21 seconds on January 18, which offered her a place in the long-distance event.
Babar, who is training in Ooty, Tamil Nadu, said she is trying to better her timing with each passing day and is hopeful of grabbing a medal at the Olympics. "I am practising really hard to reduce the timings as much as possible. I am really hoping that this time I will be able to get a medal for the country."