P.T. Usha upset at not being invited to Games opening ceremony


Kozhikode (Kerala): A day before the Commonwealth Games begin in Delhi, sprint queen P.T. Usha is upset at the organisers having failed to invite to the opening ceremony many Indian athletes who brought glory to the country.

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Speaking to IANS, the “Payyoli Express” — as Usha was known — said this treatment meted out to yesteryear athletics greats is “not at all good for Indian sports”.

“The only time that the Indian national anthem is played outside the country is when sportspersons like us win medals or when the Indian president visits. I checked up with quite a few former athletes like Vandana Rao, Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, M.D. Valsamma and none of them have been invited for the opening ceremony,” she said.

She said that she heard from the media that K.M. Beenamol also has not been invited.

“When this issue was taken up by the media, the Organising Committee – I heard through the media – said Usha needs no invitation because she is part of the Indian athletic team as her ward Tintu Luka is taking part in the 800 metres. See, I got into the Indian team because of my merit and for that, I don’t need the gratis of them,” said an angry Usha.

Luka has been a student of the P.T. Usha School of Athletics near here.

“Her event is on Oct 9 of this month and athletics do not begin till Oct 6, so why should I go there before that. This treatment meted out to us especially athletes who have brought lot of glory to the country is not good,” said Usha.

“It is not that I am cribbing that I want to see the opening ceremony. I have taken part in numerous ceremonies, but when an event like this is held in our country and we are not being invited, it sends bad signals to budding sportspersons,” she said.