The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Athens not going to be tough, says Anju

Kozhikode: Rating her medal chances in next year’s Athens Olympics as “high”, long jumper Anju Bobby George said on Thursday she was training hard to pick up more energy to improve her performance.

“It is not going to be tough in Athens as I am preparing very hard for the future events including the maiden Afro-Asian Games and also now have the experience of having competed with leading international athletes”, Anju said.

Anju’s husband and coach Robert Bobby George said the athlete was looking to improve her mark by at least one foot. “She is speedy to support her height, but is now aiming to pick up more energy to improve her mark by at least another 30 cm”, he said.

Lamenting the poor infrastructure available for athletes in the country, Anju said had she got sufficient exposure at international level some time before, her performance would have been much better.

“The kind of training we receive in Europe is highly professional with sports medicine experts taking care of our requirements”, she said.

Anju said she would take the decision to continue under Mike Powell after going through the next year’s official calendar of the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF).

Having undergone rigorous training in Europe, Anju said she would resume her practice in Bangalore from Friday to prepare for the Afro-Asian Games.

“I am ticking 6.74m regularly here and want to improve it by another 30 cm to take it beyond 7m”, she said.

She said media coverage of athletic events had gone up considerably during the last one year and people were gradually gaining awareness about the game. “I should say the media support has been excellent during this year and we athletes are being recognised by the people very well”, Anju said.

She also thanked the Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments for granting huge amount of prize money for her bronze medal in the world championship in Paris. “The incentives would be utilised to improve my performance further,” she said.

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