Since representing India in the World junior championships in 2002, discus thrower Vikas Gowda has become an established thrower on the international circuit. He may not have fully realised his potential yet, but the 6-foot 9-inch US-based Indian, an NCAA champion and Commonwealth Games silver winner, is more confident than ever before as he prepares for his third Olympics.
Since last year, he has consistently thrown above 64 metres and took the third place in the Diamond League meet in New York in June. He trains at the John Godina World Throws Centre, Phoenix, Arizona.
The three-time world champion Godina has brought in impressive improvement in Gowda’s results since last season.
Excerpts from an interview:
How have the preparations been in your build-up towards the Olympics?
My preparations for the Olympics are going well. Things are starting to get better and my body feels good.
The start of 66.28 indicated further improvement in the run-up. That has not happened. Can you explain?
I threw well with the 66.28 and I have thrown well at two Diamond League meetings going over 64 in both. I don’t consider 66 was a bad thing, but I am confident I can reach that when it matters the most.
Where do you see yourself in the Olympics context?
I consider myself one of the top throwers in the world and I think I have proved that with my performances the last two years. I want to compete well. It is tough to predict how you will feel and perform on any given day but I am confident in my abilities.
I am a different thrower than I was in Beijing. I am more experienced and I know what to expect going in.
Have you received the right support from Government, federation and sponsors?
Up to this point I have only received funding that would cover about 20% of my training expenses. I always had a tough time acquiring funding and recognition from the government and federation.
I thought things would change after I performed well at the Commonwealth, Asian Games, and World Championships but little has changed. I know they are very busy with many things but I feel like our relationship could be a lot better. Olympic GoldQuest has stepped in to fill some of the void. They have believed in me and have been supporting me since 2010.
There has been a controversy about your father not being given the privileges of a coach. Have you been able to sort out this issue?
It is tough to say who is going and who is not going. I have strongly communicated to them that I want my father and John Godina (three-time world champion who is his coach) with me when I am training and competing in London. (Since this interview, his father Shive Gowda has been named among the coaches, but there is no clarity about Godina’s position).