WARANGAL : Neeraj Chopra winning a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics was a big morale boost for athletes in the country, said participants of the 60th National Open Athletics Championship (NOAC) being held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (JNS) in Hanamkonda. On the eve of the tournament, which begins on Wednesday, the athletes took part in practice sessions at the stadium on Tuesday.
Interacting with this newspaper, the coach of services wing M.K. Mehta said athletes were more focussed on winning medals and performing at their best. "It was confidence instilling for athletes to see someone from their country bagging gold at the Olympic level. It impacted their mindset very much, pushing them to work towards perfecting their performance," he said, adding that the facilities at the JNS and the new synthetic track were satisfactory.
Deepthi, a sprinter from Kalleda of Warangal district, said the government providing better facilities like the synthetic track even in districts was a boon for sportspersons. "We used to face issues of poor facilities for practicing at home but now we can practice under a competitive environment which gives us both practice and confidence to perform better on bigger grounds," she stated.
Athlete in long jump Bhupinder Singh from Haryana said people in Warangal had been very welcoming. “I am enjoying my stay here. People are very welcoming and are treating us well. This makes me feel at home and focus on my game and give a better performance,” he said.
Former athlete P. Kishan who is posted as inspector of Kamalapur police of Hanamkonda district, said, “It is heartening to see the JNS ground where we practiced during our days hosting a national event with such world class facilities. We wish all the athletes to do their best here and move on to a better stage on the international level.”
Beginning Wednesday, 48 events will be held with 519 athletes from across the country taking part in it. Athletes need to perform their best in the NOAC to improve their chances of qualification in the upcoming Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China, next year.