Gowda walks away with head held high

JULY 31, 2014, was a red-letter day for Indian athletics.

Published: 31st May 2018 03:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st May 2018 03:44 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

CHENNAI:  JULY 31, 2014, was a red-letter day for Indian athletics. Since Jeev Milkha Singh, whose long strides had composed a haiku on the track at the erstwhile British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1958, no man from the nation had won gold in an athletics discipline at the bash.

Vikas Gowda changed history in the course of two afternoons in Glasgow. On July 30, the day of the qualifiers, he hurled his discus 64.32m to qualify automatically. A day later, a throw of 63.64m meant that he was anointed as the new king of discus among the Commonwealth.

The gold did not mean much from a global perspective — the distance he had achieved in the final was the 179th best in 2014 — but you don't get a chance to "create history" every other day.

That is why Gowda, who announced his retirement on Wednesday, said that the gold under the Glasglow lights was one of his best moments. "It is something I will always look back at with a smile," he told Express from US.

"My other highlights include qualifying for the Olympic final (2012). Reaching the finals of three Worlds (2011 in Daegu, 2013 in Moscow and 2015 in Beijing) was also pretty special, apart from medalling at Asiads and a few Diamond League events.

"Overall, I think I had a really good career. I am pleased with how it went. From 2010 to 2015, I was among the best discus throwers, and not many people can say that. I can also walk with my head held high because I was always respectful of my fellow competitors. I was always clean as an athlete."

While Gowda, who will become 35 on July 5, was expected to hang up his boots this season, the announcement still caught a few people off guard.

But the 6'9" athlete said that he had been thinking about it for some time. "I think it was time for me. I have had a few injuries recently. My performances were not up to the mark. I think it was the right time for me to take this decision."

The Mysuru native hopes to stay in touch with discus — a sport that has given him "a lots" — but first he wants to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle to complete an MBA degree.

"I will always want to be associated with discus and track and field. But right now I just want to go back to school and do an MBA."

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