It's been seven years but that Sunday in July is still fresh in her mind. It was a day when Bobby Aloysius desperately wanted to do a big jump. And she did get it.

“I badly wanted to qualify for the Olympics and I put everything into that jump in Chennai and cleared 1.91m,” said the former Asian champion at the Maharaja's Stadium on Thursday.

That fighting high jump, which put her on the plane to Athens for the 2004 Olympics, is still a National record.

With the promising Sreenith Mohan going over the boys' national junior schools mark at the Kerala Schools athletics meet in the morning, it was a nice day to discuss records.

But Bobby does not see anybody breaking her National record in the near future, at least not in the next five years.

“Five years ago, when I saw Sahana Kumari (from Karnataka), I thought she was very talented but now she appears to be over-trained,” said the 37-year-old. “And a few years ago, I thought Sangeetha Mohan (from Chennai) would break my record but she quit sport and went for engineering. She is a case of talent being wasted. But now, I don't see anybody who is capable of breaking the record in the next five years.”

So, is it a case of lack of talent or lack of proper training?

“Both,” said the former Asian champion.

On a mission

Bobby is on a mission these days, to make athletics popular and make the sport fun for its performing stars.

“I see a lot of serious faces here, winning seems to be the only thing…sport should be fun,” said Bobby. “During my days in England, I used to see a lot of smiling faces, fun and joy during competitions. Some of them lost but still they enjoyed the competition. That's missing here.”

And despite being handed out an unfair deal many a time by the sport's bosses, Bobby says she had fun during her competition days.

“I enjoyed sport …otherwise, I would not have extended my career for such a long time, till 30,” she said.

Her new post, as the Assistant Secretary (Technical) of the Kerala State Sports Council, allows her to try out many things that run in her head.

Novel idea

The Sports Council's high jump carnival, held at Thiruvananthapuram recently with the athletes performing to heavy music, was her idea.

“It was good fun but we need to improve a few things. In a couple of years, we can even think of sending a group of some 20 to 25 high jumpers abroad for training. The cost will be much cheaper when they stay in a group.”

One-event meets are new in this part of the world but Bobby is keen to try out more.

“We can try out a long jump festival too but we should have quality jumpers…we can even bring a jumper from abroad to spice up the competition,” she said.

“Also, a pole vault festival…have a lot of pits around the track and have children of different age groups competing in each event. That would be great. But the pole vault group should also take interest, like I did about the high jump.”

Certainly, athletics seems to be in for some exciting days.

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