Performance worries bog Andhra athletes

Updated: 22 March 2007 06:37 IST

Worry was the overriding emotion for the athletes from Andhra Pradesh, ahead of the National Games that begin this Friday.

Hyderabad:

Hours before boarding the train to Guwahati for the National Games that begin this Friday, worry was the overriding emotion for the athletes from Andhra Pradesh. Most of them are medal winners from the previous edition in 2002, where Andhra Pradesh won 233 medals. "We will definitely be playing under the shadow of fear," said J J Shobha, Athlete. Apart from insuring every athlete and official for Rs five lakh each, sports officials say a list of dos and don'ts has been circulated to all the 360 athletes. "We have asked them not to go out individually, remain confined to venues or place of stay," said L Rajagopal, President, AP Olympic Association. Medal import At the Hyderabad National Games, Andhra Pradesh won the maximum number of medals, thanks largely to the huge number of imports. The imports were quality players from other states, who were lured to play for Andhra Pradesh by offering incentives. This time round, a cash-strapped government has done with the policy of imports. The government has instead, increased the prize money for its homegrown sportspersons. So a gold medallist this time will get Rs five lakh instead of the Rs three lakh in 2002. Likewise Rs 3 lakh for a silver and Rs 2 lakh for a bronze. And the athletes seem to be counting their chicken before they hatch. "Last time, we were overall champions in both men and women. Our relay teams are very strong in both men and women,'' said N Ramesh, Coach, AP Athletics team. The sportspersons would hope the chief minister delivers on his promise because medal winners from Andhra Pradesh at the Commonwealth Games and the Doha Asian Games are still waiting for the promised prize money.

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