'One of the highs of my career'

'One of the highs of my career'

Towering discus thrower Vikas Gowda has struggled in the last year, with injuries hampering his progress at the Rio Olympics. But Vikas, who has participated in four Olympics (2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016), was on Friday, honoured with the Padma Shri award at New Delhi.

“I was a little bit surprised but receiving this award is definitely one of the highlights of my career,” he said after being felicitated by the Karnataka Athletics Association at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

The 6’8” foot Mysuru-born athlete tore his quadricep tendons in both knees due to which he finished a disappointing 28th at the Rio games. “I was injured for most of the year so I wasn’t even able to start training until a month or two before Rio. It was really difficult for me to compete thereafter,” said a disappointed Vikas.

With his rehabilitation almost complete, the 33-year-old is looking forward to competing at the highest level again. “I have improved my fitness since the Olympics and I should be good to go in a few weeks, even though my knees aren’t a hundred per cent.”

Realistic goals
The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist added that he would set himself goals for the near future only once he has assessed himself fully.

“It’ll be easier to set (targets) once I start competing again. I can plan it out better once I’m competing at a high level, which will hopefully be sometime in early May.”

With an eye on the IAAF World Championships slated to be held at London in August, Vikas’ immediate priority is to be fully fit and perform well in the Asian Athletics Championships in July (Bhubaneswar).

“The first main target is definitely the Asian Championship because that’s about three months away and it’ll give me enough time to recover completely and test myself before the Worlds,” said a hopeful Vikas.

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