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Updated: October 25, 2009 12:25 IST

Tessa speaks highly of Indians

Special Correspondent
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Former Olympic champion, Tessa Sanderson (right), with Manjeet Kaur the 400m winner at the National inter-State senior athletic championship on Saturday. Photo: R. Ragu
The Hindu
Former Olympic champion, Tessa Sanderson (right), with Manjeet Kaur the 400m winner at the National inter-State senior athletic championship on Saturday. Photo: R. Ragu

The athletics arena had a surprise visitor on Saturday; someone who had participated in six Olympics from 1976 and crowned it with an Olympic champion title in javelin at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.

Theresa Lone Sanderson or Tessa Sanderson as she came to be known is a big achiever from Britain and currently is in India as a coordinator of the 2010 Commonwealth Games scheduled in New Delhi.

Tessa seemed to have gained enough knowledge of Indian athletics scene to talk highly of Indian athletes. “Having seen some of them like Surendra Singh, Krishna Poonia, Seema Antil and Joseph Abraham in London, I feel the potential is excellent,” she said, while expressing optimism that “if not 2012 surely in 2016 Olympics, Indian athletes should win a medal or two,” she said.

On the longevity mantra of hers, Tessa said, “keeping fitness level high, getting full knowledge of the sport from grassroots level, choosing the right competition and ensuring all parameters including diet are well looked into,” she said while revealing that she had a personal coach for 17 years to nurture her right through and so injuries did not prove a major worry.

About Indian athletics the British Olympian said her first introduction was the performance of Anju Bobby George at the World championship in Paris in 2003.

“She came out as an excellent competitor,” she said. On what she thought of the Indian athletes and the coaches, Tessa said “very determined and dedicated”. “I told them they were more involved and serious than coaches of top nations in Europe. I liked their passion for the sport,” she said.

Having toured Mumbai and seen the infrastructure facilities coming up for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Tessa is convinced that all this would have salutary effect on Indian sports. In her view India would be ready with all facilities in time for the 2010 Games.

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