Today is World Athletics Day. Time to know more about its history,significance,former and current athletes and future stars.
World Athletics Day was initiated with a move of participation of children who were members of clubs linked with IAAF federations.First such day was celebrated in 1996.
SignificanceThe objective of introducing this was to increase awareness about Athletics and to encourage the youth to take up sports.With the increase in cases of mental issues among youngsters nowadays,it is vital to understand the importance of physical and mental fitness.Athletics not only keeps your body in shape but also puts your mind in positive state.
Most successful athletesThe world has seen many records in different athletics fields in the past.Among men,the star comes to mind is Usain Bolt.Former Jamaican sprinter is world record holder in 100m,200m and 4*100m relay.He is considered to be greatest sprinter of all time.Bolt won 8 gold medals in Olympics including in 3 consecutive Games from 2008 to 2016 in both 100m and 200m which in itself is an incredible feat.He has also 11 gold medals won at World Championships in his kitty.Americans Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson were also famous in track and field with Lewis blazing the track from 1979 to 1996 while Johnson showing his sprinting skills in 1990s.Carl Lewis won 9 gold medals at Olympics.Johnson though was more successful at World Championships with 8 gold medals in his career.He won four gold medals at Olympics.Another name which we can’t forget when it comes to athletics is that of Sergey Bubka.At 1988 Seoul Olympics,he won gold medal in pole vault.He has won 6 gold medals at World Championships,3 each representing Soviet Union and Ukraine.He broke men’s pole vault world record 35 times.He was also the first pole vaulter to clear 6 meters and also 6.10m.Among women at global stage,Allyson Felix of USA is most successful track and field athlete.As a sprinter,she won 6 gold medals at Olympics and a total of 13 medals at World Championships.
Indian connectionFrom India’s perspective,the country is yet to win a medal at Olympics.The closest it came was in the year 1984 when P T Usha missed a bronze by a whisker in 400m hurdles at Los Angeles Olympics with 55.42s.Payyoli Express has been successful at Asian level with 11 medals won at Asiad and 23 won at Asian Championships.Milkha Singh came fourth at 1960 Rome Olympics in 400 meters.Flying Sikh entered the final as one of the favourites but slipped after leading the race at half way stage.Anju Bobby George created history by winning bronze in long jump at 2003 World Championships in Paris with 6.70m.She went on to win gold at World Athletics Final in 2005 which is her best ever performance.Anju is India’s lone athlete to win a medal at Worlds.
There is more hope from current crop of athletes in India.At 2018 Commonwealth Games,Neeraj Chopra sizzled by winning the gold medal for India in javelin throw.Neeraj is our best hope for a medal at Tokyo Olympics.Shot putter Tejinderpal Singh Toor,Arpinder Singh in triple jump,Sprinters Manjit Singh and Jinson Johnson have shown their mettle by winning medals at Asian Games.Young female stars are also not far behind.Hima Das became the first ever Indian to win gold at World under 20 Championships in 2018.She along with Dutee Chand are making rapid strides in track.Seasoned Sudha Singh in Steeplechase,Seema Punia in discuss throw and Heptathlete Swapna Barman increased Indian medals tally in athletics at 2018 Asiad in Jakarta.
Finally lets hope Indian athletics don’t stay far behind other sports in the near future.
By Shailesh Padhye for Sportsnasha.com