Former Olympic sprinter Ashwini Nachappa is confident her ex-coach Shive Gowda’s son, Vikas, can spring a surprise at the 2012 London Olympics (July 27-August 12).
The 29-year-old discus thrower will be high on confidence after his bronze-winning effort at last month’s IAAF Diamond League in New York, and Nachappa is positive Vikas can put his name down in Olympic history by winning a medal at the Games.
Pumped up: Indian discus thrower Vikas Gowda. Pic/AFP
“The current Indian athletics contingent is strong, but they still need to work a lot to match international standards. I feel that there is an outside chance for Vikas to win a medal, if he performs well. I’m rooting for him as he also happens to be my coach’s (Shive) son and is also from Karnataka,” Nachappa, who runs her own sports academy in Coorg (Karnataka), told MiD DAY from Bangalore yesterday.
However, the 44-year-old, famous for having outrun Indian sprint queen PT Usha in the 80s, is not very optimistic about the country’s medal hopes in track and field events: “If we want to win Olympic medals in athletics, we need to work a lot harder and match the Germans and Cubans.”
The Arjuna awardee, a member of the women’s 4x400m relay team at the 1988 Seoul Games, got nostalgic when reminiscing about her time in South Korea.
“It was my first Olympics. I was the youngest member of the Indian contingent (21 years). For us even qualifying for the main event of the Olympics was considered to be a great achievement.
“And I’m proud to have achieved that feat. This generation of athletes gets the best of facilities made available to them at such a young age unlike our time,” added Nachappa.
Meeting 1988 100m gold medallist American Carl Lewis, was Nachappa’s most vivid memory from the Games. “Watching the best of athletes from across the globe was an enriching experience. But meeting Carl (Lewis) was a dream come true. Shaking hands with him and taking pictures after training was something I will cherish all my life,” Nachappa signed off.