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Indian contingent will win more medals in Tokyo, Kutty Saramma

- July 21, 2021

Chennai, July 21(BPNS)

Kutty Saramma is an Arjuna Award winner of 1993 and was part of the Indian relay team as well as in Sprint in Asian games women team along with P.T.Usha, Shiny Wilson, and Mercy Kuttan. She was the winner of the Silver medal in the 4×400 relay Beijing in 1990 and at Hiroshima Asian Games in 1994. Hailing from Kollam in Kerala, Saramma is presently the Sports Officer with Indian Railways and is working in Chennai. She spoke exclusively to BPNS on the Indian contingent at the Tokyo Olympics and the probability of winning medals in the games.

Q: As one of the decorated Athletes of the country and an Arjuna Award winner, how do you rate the present Indian contingent at Tokyo Olympics?

Kutty Saramma: Well, comparing to previous Rio Olympic games  India is expecting more medals even more golds. We have high chances in Badminton, Boxing. Wrestling, Weight lifting. Shooting. Archery. Hockey these games we had already proved. We are expecting, Podium finish performance from our team.

What are the chances of any Indian athlete winning a medal in the games?

Kutty Saramma: In Athletics, so far in independent India not a single athlete has won a medal, even though legendary athletes like late Milkha Singh and P.T. Usha missed the medals by a whisker.   I hope if the ace javelin thrower, Neeraj Chopra is able to throw around 90 meters, there is a high possibility of getting a medal. I hope that through javelin our dream of winning a medal in Olympic athletics will come true. However, his  best is 88.07meters and in an item like Javelin throw, the day and the wind are major criteria in deciding victory. Let us keep our fingers crossed.

3: As a participant of Asian 4X400 team in  in the World Athletics at Havana and London, do you find chances for any other Indian in track and field?

Kutty Saramma: Another major  hopes for our country according to Olympic and International track and field standards are,  Long jumper M. Sreeshankar and  Shot putter, Tajinderpal Singh. Our men’s  4×400 m relay team has high chances to make it to the finals of the track and field competition, if they repeat their season’s best performances.

4: Indian Women athletics have always been dominated by athletes from Kerala. Unfortunately in this Indian contingent, there are no women athletes from Kerala. As an International athlete hailing from the state, your comments, please?

Kutty Saramma: Yes it is really unfortunate and Kerala women dominated throughout in athletics and especially track and field games , especially in 4×400 m relay. I remember 1988 Asian Track field and  Asia games all four of the relay contingent were from Kerala. In the Global arena, Indian athletics was identified with P.T.Usha. I expected P. U. Chitra in 1500mts, unfortunately, she ranked 50th and in the qualifying only ranks up to 45th are only allowed. Vismaya and Jisna also missed out on the 4X100 m relay team. As an athlete who had represented the country in several sprint competitions as part of the 4X400 relay team, I feel sad about it. 

Q: Has Covid affected the practice and training of the Indian team?

Kutty Saramma: Yes. Due to Covid-19, many exposure games like participation and competition in international games did not take place. Competitions were missed and if we had contested with international athletes, we ourselves could have made out on our strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, Covid played spoilsport and our training and practice have affected.

Q: As a former athlete, how do you rate women athletes in the country?

Kutty Saramma:  I have always held Indian women athletes in high esteem and as I told earlier the name P.T.Usha was highly placed in international athletic arena. Several women athletes have contributed medals for the country in Olympics, and I rate them all in high regards, especially  Karnam  Malleswari in weight lifting- Saina Nehwal and P.V.Sindhu in badminton, the legendary Mary Kom in boxing and Sakshi Mallik in wrestling.

Q: What are you presently doing and any suggestions to develop sports in the country to bring up world beaters?

Kutty Saramma:  I am fortunate enough for having represented the country in Asian games and as part of the Asian contingent in the World Athletic Meet twice, in Havana and in London. I am currently working as a Sports officer with the Indian Railways in Chennai.

 I am part of the team that scout for talents and provide jobs to them in the Railways, for example, Revathi who is representing the country at Tokyo Olympics is working with us. 

My suggestion is to catch them young and train them at the best facilities and make them World beaters. It is not impossible and the days are not far off, wherein we become a major challenger in International track and field games like the Olympics.