New Delhi :
India’s newly-appointed Athletics High Performance Director Derek Boosey feels the country has a realistic chance of winning an elusive track-and-field medal in the 2020 Olympics provided the focus is on “talented” juniors.
The 73-year-old, who was born in Pune and has an ancestral connection with India, became the first High Performance Director for Athletics in October last year.
“We need to focus on juniors. There is a lot of talent among the juniors in this country. In the 2020 Olympics, we can seriously plan for a medal and we can plan on juniors. That is the objective,” the 1968 Mexico City Olympian told PTI in an interview.
“You need to plan. We can win medals in 2020, why not? For that we need very good Indian coaches, many more than we have now. And we need all-weather (Indoor) facilities in four -five cities in the country,” said the former triple jumper.
India has not won a single athletics medal in the Olympics though a few athletes have reached the finals.
Elaborating on the need for a bigger pool of internationally qualified coaches, Boosey said, “We need to have domestic coaches who have passed IAAF coaching levels 1, 2, 3 or 4 etc. The foreign coaches we have now are very good but we need domestic coaches in the long run.
“It will take some time to have internationally qualified domestic coaches in large numbers. But we have to start,” said Boosey, who holds citizenship of the USA, United Kingdom and Canada, though he currently uses the American passport.
Asked if he felt that India lacks in athletics infrastructure, he said, “The infrastructure is good and the Sports Authority of India has done well. But we cannot depend on the government alone.
“We need indoor centres in New Delhi, Patiala, Bangalore and Thiruvananthapuram and may be in Pune. We need all-weather facilities so that athletes can train throughout the year in the country.
“There are good facilities at Ooty and a Center of Excellence will be coming up at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi,” he said.
Boosey has worked in several capacities in various countries as head coach and consultant of national teams, as top administrator of major Games and marketing head of national athletics bodies and companies like Nike.
He has also published coaching manuals which were approved by the IAAF for its development programmes throughout the world.