Payyoli Express Sprints to Gujarat: PT Usha to Head Sport Academy in Ahmedabad

published on October 19, 2014

Sprint Queen PT Usha, after having faced dissuasion from her own home state, is all set to undertake a marathon mission entrusted to her by none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The ‘Payyoli Express’ will undertake the task of scouting and grooming sporting talent in Gujarat, in response to a request from Narendra Modi. The former sprint queen said she would personally lead the talent scouting of young athletes to be held in six locations across Gujarat from November 9-14.

Meanwhile the Marxist saga of disrupting anything good continues, with their shouting of slogans and causing annoyance to public by staging remonstrations in front of Usha School of Athletics in Kinaloor. 
According to Usha, the invite from Modi came last year when he was Gujarat’s chief minister. “Since I was busy with the Commonwealth Games and Asiad, I couldn’t do much. Now, I will be going there next month to help them,” said the 50-year-old.

“The director general of the Sports Authority of Gujarat, Sandeep Pradhan, had approached me a year ago requesting help in setting up a sports academy there. They wanted to replicate the model we follow at the Usha School which is to identify talent at a young age and give them specialized training. I have agreed to support their endeavour,” she said. Usha would groom as many as 40 students in Gujarat in the first batch.
The sprinter said she was really impressed with the sporting infrastructure in Ahmedabad and Vadodara. “The selection trial will be held in main cities of the state between November 9 and 15.  We are initially planning to select 30 (boys and girls) in the 11-14 age group. Apart from this, 10 older aspirants will also be inducted,” she said.
Modi, who has promised to foster a sporting culture in the country, said this week that the government was signing pacts related to sports expertise with various countries in its bid to provide athletes with better exposure and infrastructure.

The Sports Authority of Gujarat has promised her a free hand in setting up and running the residential sports academy and in establishing training facilities at the Vadodara sports complex.
Usha said she would help realise the PM’s dream of the country winning an Olympic gold in athletics. Her coaching and training mechanism will be similar to the Usha School of Athletics, which she founded in 2002 near her village in Kerala.

Since then her school has produced some of the country’s best athletes including Asian silver medallist Tintu Luka who was also a member of the 4X400 relay team that won gold in the Incheon Asiad. Other athletes like Sherbana Siddique and Jessy Joseph have also received training from Usha School of Athletics.
Usha, the winner of four gold medals and a silver at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games, missed a podium finish at 1984 Los Angeles Olympics by a fraction of a second.
The school she set up is located in the premises of KSIDC’s Industrial estate. The sporting institute, which began with much fanfare is battling a fund crunch, with the state government maintaining a damp attitude towards the same. Though land for the school was provided, no further support for supporting the establishment further was granted.

“Since it is a residential school we need at least Rs. 2 lakh for a junior athlete a year. Some sponsors do ease their wallets generously. But still, financial crisis has plagued us badly and we were on the verge of closure on several occasions,” said her husband V Sreenivasan, a former Kabaddi player and swimmer.

Welcome to Haindava Keralam! Register for Free or Login as a privileged HK member to enjoy auto-approval of your comments and to receive periodic updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

12 − one =

Latest Articles from Kerala Focus

Did You Know?