Usha seeks crowd-funding

Usha seeks crowd-funding

In an attempt to find financial support for her track and field school, athletics legend P T Usha has turned to crowd-funding.

The Usha School of Athletics has been in existence since 2002 and has produced a clutch of top athletes, the most famous one being Tintu Luka -- the multiple Asian medallist and the continental champion in the 800M in 2015.

“We started with 12 athletes and have 19 athletes now. We have been meeting their expenses with the support of sponsors and individual donors. But we can do more with better support,” said Usha at a press conference here on Friday.

The Usha School has been raising funds on Milaap, an online crowdfunding platform. “We have raised about Rs 3.3 lakh so far. We hope with better awareness, more people would come forward to support our endeavours,” Usha said.

The season gone by has not been a great one for Tintu but another Usha ward, Jisna Mathew made big strides to emerge as the new Indian hope in the 400M, winning the Asian Junior gold last year and becoming an integral part of the Indian 4x400 relay team. Another emerging athlete is Abitha Mary Manuel, a bronze medallist at the Commonwealth Youth Games.

Tintu is recovering from illness and injuries and is expected to be back next year to be in contention for Commonwealth and Asian Games teams.

Jisna, just 18 years old, too will be hoping for a strong year in the senior as well as junior ranks, with the world under-20 championships scheduled next year in Tampere, Finland.

“If these athletes get support, it will be easier for us to achieve our goals. I can focus on training them instead of running around for funds,” said Usha.

Usha felt one medal for India on the Olympic stage can go a long way towards popularising athletics. “Look at badminton, Saina’s bronze and Sindhu’s silver have turned the spotlight totally on that sport. Things in athletics too can change with one medal,” she said.

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