THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As yet another National Games progresses amid organisational lapses and controversies, legendary sprint queen P T Usha feels that the event has transformed into a carnival in which artists benefit more than sportspersons.
Though the Games has helped improve the sports infrastructure at the grassroot level, Usha felt the event would not be of much help to the athletes preparing for international events including the upcoming Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.
"After all, the National Games is an Olympic-format event. But, organisers seem to concentrate more on the pomp and show of the opening and closing ceremonies of the event than giving due importance to sports and sportstars," Usha told PTI in an interview.
"The ongoing Games are no different. They try to ensure the participation of maximum number of artists in the inaugural and closing ceremonies and make it a big celebration," the legendary athlete, who once reigned the Indian track and field, said.
However, Usha felt it was also hard to ignore the sports infrastructure that has come up solely because of the Games.
"It helps upcoming sportstars to get better facilities including good stadiums, tracks and other essential infrastructure. It is not a small thing. I think, that is the only benefit of conducting the Games," said the Los Angeles Olympics finalist who lost the bronze in a thrilling photo finish in 1984.
Usha, who amassed over 100 medals in different international events including a handful of gold and silver in Asian Games, said the organisers could learns from big multi-sports events to conduct the National Games smoothly.
"It is really stupid to compare between Olympics and the National Games. Olympics is a well-prepared event and the National Games is completely the opposite. We will easily get the complete schedule and the other details of athletics or any other event of the 2016 Rio Olympics months before. But, is it possible to get the schedule and other such details of the National Games similarly?" she asked.