Other Sports

Smartphones have replaced sports: P T Usha

P. T. Usha, Former Indian track and field athlete with children participating child abuse awarness run organised by Little Millennium School at Rajarathinam Stadium on Sundayy. Photo: R. Ragu / The Hindu

P. T. Usha, Former Indian track and field athlete with children participating child abuse awarness run organised by Little Millennium School at Rajarathinam Stadium on Sundayy. Photo: R. Ragu / The Hindu   | Photo Credit: R_Ragu

The Indian track queen was in the city to steer preschoolers away from screens and towards physical activities

Three-year-old Adithya V could barely pronounce marathon. Yet, he proceeded to running on the track quite confidently along with his parents. Adithya was one among 2,000 toddlers and parents gathered at Rajarathinam Stadium, Egmore, to participate in Let’s Run with PT Usha, a first-of-its-kind kids’ marathon organised by Little Millennium Preschool. Targeted at kids in the two to six age group, the marathon was held to raise awareness about child abuse, said Raman Bajaj, CEO of Little Millennium Preschool. “We have been conducting workshops for parents and children to sensitise them on matters like good touch and bad touch,” he said.

“Restricting children from exploring the neighbourhood or playing on the streets is cruel. The kids want to break free and have fun. We wanted to inculcate physical education as a part of their curriculum. At the same time, we wanted to associate it with a social cause,” he added.

Children participating in child abuse awarness run organised by Little Millennium School at Rajarathinam Stadium on Sunday.

Children participating in child abuse awarness run organised by Little Millennium School at Rajarathinam Stadium on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: R_Ragu

The event was flagged off by the queen of Indian track and field, PT Usha, who entered the arena in a chariot. Speaking on the sidelines of child abuse, PT Usha said, “When they approached me, I felt this was an issue that needed to be addressed. It is encouraging that parents have shown their support by coming in large numbers.” She believes that this is the appropriate age for children to indulge in physical activities. “During our time, we used to go to school at the age of six. These days, children as young as three are going to playschool; this is the time for them to have fun,” she added.

Stressing that physical education should be made compulsory in schools, Usha said, “It’s important for schools to encourage sports. Like science and math, there should be a grading system for sports, and it should be a part of their curriculum.” When Usha was in school, she would eagerly look forward to the drill period; “But these days, smartphones have replaced sports,” she said. She opined that physical activities are vital for students to keep their minds and bodies at peace. “After a long day at school, sports will help them rejuvenate their system. Especially in the digital era, where almost every kid uses a smartphone.”

Starting out as an aspiring athlete to having established her own academy in Kerala, PT Usha has come a long way. “For 13 years, I lived without sports. After my first track event, sports became my life. I’ve won 103 gold medals and more than 800 national medals. However, the fact that I missed my Olympic medal by one-hundredth of a second is something that bothers me. Which is why I started my own academy to train athletes.”

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 7:08:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/smartphones-have-replaced-sports-pt-usha/article26238416.ece

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