'Indians have the talent'

Delhi will host a very good CWG, says Sanderson

Theresa Lone Sanderson

Tessa has retained strong links with the sport even after her retirement, with her Newham Sports Academy in London being the grooming ground for many a talented athlete. Newham has been the training base for Indian athletes too for the last couple of seasons and Tessa was in Chennai to see them perform at the Inter-State championships during her ‘goodwill tour’ of this country. The 53-year-old spoke to the media about her impressions of Indian athletics and also Delhi’s preparations for the Commonwealth Games. Excerpts:

On Indian athletes: They have the talent to do really well. Your heptathlete (Sushmita Singha Roy) is a real talent; the two discus throwers (Krishna Poonia and Seema Antil) too are good. I was also very impressed by your long distance runner Surender Singh and hurdler Joseph Abraham. They are superb talents. But Indians should get stronger and compete more on the world stage. They need more competition so that they can get better.

I really took note of Indian athletics when (Anju) Bobby George took charge in long jump. She was an excellent competitor and gave a superb start for India on the global stage.
On whether India can succeed at the Olympic Games: Indian athletes have the passion and dedication needed for their sport. If they get their mental focus together, I am positive India can win a couple of medals in the 2016 Olympic Games.

On the secret of her longevity:  I learnt my sport well and I had the right coach as well. My second coach was with me for 17 years. I also took care of my body, making sure I was supple enough for my event. I was passionate about sports and chose the right events to compete in.

On Delhi’s Commonwealth Games preparations: I only had a whistle-stop tour of Delhi. From my experience – I have competed in six Olympic Games and four Commonwealth Games – I can tell you that at every Games, there are doubts expressed about the preparations. I can say that Delhi will bring to the world a very good Games.

I know how fast things can spring up – for instance, three years back, the main venue for the London Olympic Games was all dirt but now stadiums have come up really well. Delhi will be playing host to world-class athletes and it should make sure it has world-class facilities ready for them.

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