For athletes, continuity and persistence are essential to succeeding in the long run, says India’s Golden Girl

India’s ‘Golden Girl’ P.T. Usha was back where she belongs, where she simply loves to be – on the track.

In Hyderabad as brand ambassador for ‘Speedstar’ – Kooh Sports’ ambitious, nation-wide talent hunt programme for boys and girls – India’s best-known woman athlete looked her genial self.

“This is a great concept for the simple reason that the purpose of organising it – to lure young kids to athletics – is being served to the full. About 20,000 kids across 10 cities have already taken part,” Usha said.

“Yet again, this is only a competition. What is needed is continuity for any budding talent to grow up the ladder. There is no point running fast here, winning a first place and forgetting about the event later on,” she insisted, adding that boys and girls who were admitted to the programme “should keep performing and get selected to different State-level meets”.

“I always believe that speed is the essence for any sport. If you have speed you need not be only in athletics, you can choose any other discipline,” Usha said. “I wish the 200 m and the 400 m events are also held on similar lines for that is the future of Indian athletics too,” she remarked.

Commenting on Odisha athlete Amiya Mallick being trained at Usain Bolt’s Academy, Usha felt that any coach can only mould talent. “So, a four-month stint cannot be treated as the end of it all. The athlete has to have continuity in training and performance at the highest level,” she said.

Usha said she would want to complete her academy in Kerala before mulling similar ones in other States.

“I feel running is far easier than coaching,” said the athlete, with her trademark smile.

Kooh Sports Develo-pment Centre general manager Sahil Sharma said the top two finishers in each of the four age-groups at the national-level competition in Mumbai, would be sent to Australia for a high-performance training programme.

More In: Hyderabad