KOCHI: Former athlete and head of Clean Sports India, Ashwini Nachappa said coaches, athletes and the system are responsible for India’s poor performance in the Rio Olympics. She added that governments should stop incentives for just making the Olympic cut and that sudden jumps in performance should be probed.
“It’s time people concerned are held accountable. The performance of athletes in Rio was below average. There’s no point in saying this athlete is a two-time or three-time Olympian if they don’t perform. Governments should also stop the practice of giving incentives for Olympic qualification. Our athletes should be asked to improve or create new national records,” the sports activist-cum-administrator told Express on the sidelines of the inauguration of registration for IDBI Federal Life Insurance Space Cost Marathon on Wednesday.
Ashwini also took potshots at Tintu Luka and PT Usha for the former’s lacklustre show and said she was shocked to see her crash out in the heats. “If we look at her career, she hasn’t clocked below two minutes for many years. The country and the sports fraternity had high expectations from the likes of Tintu and Saina Nehwal. They have let those people down. Someone should be held responsible for Tintu’s pathetic show. Either the athlete, the coach or the Athletics Federation of India,” she explained.
The Arjuna, who was referred to as India’s ‘Flo Jo’ because of the blend of glamour and athletic exploits, said the system of athletics is in shambles and needs revamp. “The system is harming the interest of athletes. Look at the case of OP Jaisha. She’s a fine long-distance runner but was forced to do marathon against her will. Before going into the finer aspects of the allegation that she was deprived of drinks during her race, I would like to ask why no one from the Indian contingent went to her race. At least they should have gone to cheer her up.”
A vocal critic of doping, Ashwini was surprised with the performance of a few. “I was at the Indian Grand Prix in Bengaluru and was surprised to see some of the athletes qualifying with remarkable performances. I had then remarked that they should repeat the feat in Rio because good form normally stays for a month. But they put up a pathetic show. That’s unbelievable and call for an inquiry.”