SPORT

Dejected Geetha vows to hit back

Sathi Geetha. — PHOTO: AKHILESH KUMAR

Sathi Geetha. — PHOTO: AKHILESH KUMAR  

Sathi Geetha returned to Hyderabad on Wednesday after a rich haul of three golds in the senior inter-State national athletics meet in Patiala.

The 26-year-old Olympian, who won the 100m, 200m and the 4 x 100m relay, told The Hindu that she had actually thought of quitting the sport in disgust just before the Patiala meet.

“Where is the recognition? Even the State government has rarely bothered about my achievements,” she said.

However, she was persuaded by K. Ranga Rao, secretary of AP Athletics Association, to hit back with good performances on the track.

“I told her, what can she achieve by sitting at home. I told her to prove her mettle once again in Patiala and leave the rest to destiny,” Prof. Rao recalled.

Repeatedly ignored

“Yes, I am disappointed that I have been ignored for the fourth consecutive year for the Arjuna Award. Athletes with lesser achievements have been given that honour,” said a dejected double Olympian.

“It is true that no athlete should bargain for any award, but unless we express our disappointment who will care for us?”

“I decided to compete due to the support of my coaches Rajendra Sharma and Nagapuri Ramesh and also with the specific objective of proving a point or two. That is why I chose to compete in the 100m for the second time in my career in a senior National event.

“I am really delighted with the gold in this premier event. But it was difficult to get motivated as I was feeling neglected despite achieving so much,” she explained.

Geetha, daughter of a small-time cycle spares shop owner in Marteru (West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh), had donned the National colours in Athens and Beijing Olympics.

Passion for running

“Sometimes I wonder why I should keep winning medals. But my passion for the sport is repeatedly luring me back on to the track,” said Geetha, who had won a relay gold in the Doha Asian Games.

“My focus now will be on the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games later this year. I want to win some more medals and serve a final reminder to the powers-that-be that I deserve better recognition,” says the champion athlete, a product of the first batch from AP Sports School and later of the Sports Authority of India.

Geetha, a Head Clerk in South Central Railway, says that she is hoping for a change in fortunes after the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games this year.

“Right now, I am not sure how long I can continue in my present frame of mind,” she remarked.

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