Talal Mansour is upbeat about Qatar’s Dahlan Al Hamad’s election as the Asian Athletics Association President.

“New president Mr. Dahlan knows the way to go about developing athletics. He has ideas and has power. He has the support of the new Highness (Qatar’s new ruler Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani), who is a sportsperson, and will give the new AAA chief what he wants to develop the sport not only in Qatar, but also the Asian federation.”

The former sprinter feels it is time for Asian athletics to bounce back, instead of getting dwarfed by Europe and other regional powers.

“Earlier, when we competed as Asia in the regional championships against Europe, America, we won many gold medals. Now the medals have dried up. We need to build athletics again in Asia.”

Sensation

He was a sensation in sprints at the Asian Games, turned attention on himself and Qatar with a 1993 World indoor bronze in men’s 60m and is a three-time Olympic participant at 1984 Los Angeles, 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona.

He competed on track at the regional and international level at a time when P. T. Usha was the flag-bearer of India. Mansour rates her as someone who lived for athletics and shared the workload with him in winning honour for Asia.

Usha is on the panel of coaches attached to the Indian contingent at the 20th AAC and her protege Tintu Luka will compete in the women’s 800m.

Mansour is in Balewadi as a guest.