Gymnast Ashish Kumar rues lack of adequate training facilities

Allahabad, Feb 4 (PTI) Gymnast Ashish Kumar, who wonlaurels at the Commonwealth and Asian Games last year, todayexpressed fears that his aim to win a gold medal at the 2012London Olympics may end up as an "unfulfilled dream" due tolack of adequate training facilities in the country.

"Of late, I have begun to fear that the ambition may endup as an unfulfilled dream," Kumar said here today.

"Last year was fantastic and had left me bubbling withenthusiasm. After having bagged medals at both theCommonwealth and the Asian Games, I had become confident thatI would be able to do my country proud at the London Olympicsdue next year," he added.

The 20-year-old son of a railway employee, who bagged abronze and a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games beforewinning a bronze at the Asian Games, to become the only Indianto have achieved the feat, was speaking at a press conferenceorganised by his alma mater, the city-based National SportsAcademy (NSA).

"Ever since I won a medal for my country on the Chinesesoil, I have been confident of winning a medal, hopefully agold, at the Olympics. I have been training hard with a viewto realising the dream.

"I do not think there would be much difficulty in gettingthrough the qualifiers which are to be held in Japan. Butthereafter it is going to be an uphill journey and that iswhere prospects, as of now, do not appear bright," he said.

"I have been working as hard as I can. But that is notenough when you are going to compete with the best in theworld. This is a realisation that is growing stronger withinme with every passing day.

"I am grateful to all my countrymen for the affectionthey have showered on me but I wonder whether if it will getme an Olympic medal, considering the abysmal lack offacilities here," the dejected gymnast said.

"I will give my best shot at the London Olympics, comewhat may. But unless my training and preparations are backedby adequate infrastructure, there is little likelihood of theefforts bearing fruit," he said.

Speaking at the same press meet, NSA''s founder and thegymnast''s mentor, UK Mishra, said he has already "taken up thematter with the Ministry of Sports and the Sports Authority ofIndia", and claimed that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawatitoo, has given "assurance of all possible help".

"Last month Ashish was felicitated at Lucknow along withother CWG medal winners from UP by CM Mayawati. I had takenthe opportunity to apprise her of the difficulties we arefacing on account of paucity of resources following which shegave me the assurance of all possible help," Mishra said.

"Later, I wrote to the CM about equipments that we needto help Ashish prepare for international meet, which involveda cost of about Rs 15 crore.

"I have also written to the Union Sports Ministry and theSports Authority of India regarding the help we need. Now, weare awaiting their response," he added.

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