Poovamma gets rousing welcome

Her next aim is Olympics at Rio in 2016, says the athlete

M R Poovamma who clinched a gold medal in the 4X400 metre relay and bronze in 400 metre race, at the recently concluded Asian Games was accorded a rousing welcome by the district administration, Karnataka government, DK district Athletics Association and family members, at the Mangalore International Airport, on Tuesday.

Speaking to mediapersons, she said that her next aim is Olympics at Rio in 2016. Before the Olympics, there is World Championship Track and Field Events.

Brushing aside the allegation that there was confusion in selection of relay team for Asian Games, she said that there was no confusion in the selection process. “Minister for Youth Empowerment and Sports Abhayachandra Jain has cheered us during the Asian Games at Incheon. It was a great motivation for all sports talents. The government had promised to provide housing facilities for those who have won medals. It would be a great help if we get the facility,” she said.

“Winning any medal in the Asian Games is a great achievement for a sports person,” she said.

“I have given my best performance in 400 metre race. I had completed 400 metre race in 52.3 seconds at Incheon. In relay, we were determined to win a medal,” she said with a smile on her face.

Along with relay, hockey and kabaddi teams have also won gold medals. Hockey and Kabaddi teams had players from Karnataka, which is a proud moment for us.
She did not forget to remember her coach Vasanth Hegde and Dinesh Kundar who had trained her in Mangalore. At present, she is being trained by Ramesh at the national-level.

Poovamma’s family with father Raju, mother Jaji, brother Manju and coach Dinesh Kunder were at the airport to receive her. Mother Jaji welcomed the daughter with a sweet kiss on her cheek.

“We did not have a good trainer in athletics. As a result, I had to take the help of a Boxing trainer Harishankar Varma. I had lost the hope after I suffered from back ache in 2012. With the help of Varma and my parents, I could come back to the track. I had taken my back ache as a challenge. With the support of my parents, I have
reached this level. It is not easy to win a medal in Asian Games,” Poovamma said.

“An athlete should get training at the international level to get exposure. With athletes themselves spending for the training will not be of much help. Before the Commonwealth Games, I had not taken part in any of the international events. The athletes from other countries would have taken part atleast four to five international events before the Asian Games. Hence, the sponsors should come forward to support the athletes. Getting trained along with athletes from other countries will help in boosting self-confidence.”

Ministers Abhayachandra Jain, Ramanath Rai, Deputy Mayor Kavitha, ZP President Asha Thimmappa Gowda, Vice President Sathish Kumpala and DC A B Ibrahim among others were present.

Later, she was taken in a procession from Jyothi circle to Mangala stadium, where Poovamma used to practice at the beginning of her career. People who found the Asiad gold winner in traffic cheered the athlete who made the nation proud. She also visited Mariyamman temple at Urwa. The grand procession was organised by District Administration, Dakshina Kannada Amateur Athletic Association and Youth Services Deaprtment Mangalore. Poovamma was greeted by many young athletes at Mangala stadium.

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