'Comprehensive talent spotting is necessary'

'Comprehensive talent spotting is necessary'

Hugh Jones keen to make World 10K a great success

AIMS secretary Hugh Jones inspects the route for the Sunfeast World 10K run in Bangalore on Wednesday . DH photo Vastly experienced in the field — he is the winner of the London Marathon in 1982 and also a course measurer of repute — the secretary of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) spoke to Deccan Herald on various issues.

On the athletes he looked up to: People like Sebastian Coe were the same age as me, we ran cross country races together. Nick Rose was a top runner in those days; Steve Jones was about the same age as me. He came through in a serious way in marathon, although he was a better 10,000M runner than me.

A lot of them..you didn’t look up to them, because they were people you were competing against!

On Europe’s decline in distance running: It’s not just that the Kenyans and Ethiopians are above all, but generally East Africans have come forward and they’re much better integrated into the international competitive system. It’s also that runners in Europe and North America are not as fast as they used to be. The reason is just social change. You just don’t have the same kind of life as you did then.

I used to run to school and back. But even myself — I couldn’t see allowing my kid when they were five, to run to school.

On whether Europe will bounce back: In terms of the overall forces at work, I think not. The older system of talent spotting is gone. Nowadays teachers are so burdened with administrative stuff that they don’t have time to go out and indulge their passions the way my teacher used to get me through. So there has to be a comprehensive system of talent spotting and infusing people with enthusiasm. Because in my case, I didn’t really like it that much until I got a fair way down the road. And you need a good support system to carry you through.

On adventure sports helping to improve fitness:  It’s a different kind of fitness.

Something like running is basic fitness.

There’s lot of sports that offer immediate rewards; running is far more popular these days than it ever was; people are using it for fitness, they’re not out there in a competitive way, to get the outmost out of themselves. But other sports have more immediate rewards than running.

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