New Delhi: India can certainly produce world-class athletes that can compete with the very best in the world of athletics, but only if the proper coaching setup is provided, feels American sprint legend Carmelita Jeter.
Jeter responded to a question pertaining to the lack of world-beating athletes in India despite having a large population at an event in New Delhi in the build-up to the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.
"When you have great coaches, it makes more athletes come out. That’s a fact. If I came out here and started coaching, then more females are going to want to compete.
"It’s going to have to start with a big name coming to coach and getting them to come out and then it starts with the young girls and young boys watching them on television," said Jeter, who is the second-fastest female athlete of all time.
Jeter singled out ace sprinter Dutee Chand as one such figure, someone who has made quite the impact in the world of athletics and can inspire more youngsters in her footsteps.
Chand, the first Indian athlete to come out openly as a member of the LGBTQ community, is the current national 100m champion and had won a silver each in both the 100m and 200m events in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.
"She (Chand) has done some remarkable things. I’m sure hopefully more young ladies will step up and represent the country and showcase you guys on the higher stage," said Jeter, who won three medals — gold (4x100 relay), silver (100m) and a bronze (200m) — in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Her team ended up breaking the 4x100 world record with a timing of 40.82 seconds.
The Los Angeles native recorded a timing of 10.64 seconds in the 100m event at the 2009 Shanghai Golden Grand Prix, a feat that made her the fastest woman alive. The all-time record 100m belongs to the late Florence Griffith Joyner, who stunned the world with a timing of 10.49 seconds in 1988.
Jeter is the international ambassador for the 15th edition of Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, listed as a Gold Label Road Race by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
"I feel very privileged to be the international event ambassador at the 15th edition of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. It's amazing to see over 40,000 people register for the event and more importantly to see so many women make their way to the starting line," said the retired sprinter, currently a track and field coach at the Missouri State University in the USA.
The race takes place on Sunday, 20 October, with thousands expected to participate across five categories — Half Marathon (21.097km), Great Delhi Run (5km), Open 10K, Senior Citizens' Run (3.2km) and Champions with Disability (3.2km).
The 2018 edition saw Ethiopians Andamlak Belihu (59:18) Tsehay Gemechu (1:06:48) winning gold in the men's and women's categories of the half-marathon respectively.
Updated Date: Oct 18, 2019 11:37:34 IST