He was the Indian representative on the international Olympic committee. The Asian games have become a great symbol of the spirit of international sport.

Asian games are the sports events organized by Asian countries after every four years in one or the other capital of an Asian country. They have become very popular and encouraged the growth of sports Stadia and other facilities throughout the continent. They have also inspired the school children to devote more attention to sports.

Perhaps not many people know the name of the person who first gives the idea of the Asian games. They all know that the modest start of these games took place in New Delhi in 1951. It was G.D. Sondhi who, at the 1948 Olympics in London, proposed the formation of the Asian Games Federation, the Purpose was to organize the Aisin games every four years, midway between the Olympics.

Eleven Asian countries took part in the 1951 Asian Games. The number of competitors for six sports was about 500. In the second Games (1955) at Manila (Philippines), 18 countries participated. The Third Asian Games were held in Tokyo (Japan) in 1959. 1500 sportsmen competed in 13 sports. Like this, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, Eighth and ninth Asian games, were held every fourth year at different Asian capitals, including Delhi.

The tenth Asian Games took place in 1986 in Seoul (South Korea). The numbers of sports competed for increased to 30 and of competitors to over 5,000. At these Games, the Chinese bagged the largest number of gold and other medals and proved to be the best sports nation of Asia.

Indian contingent of three hundred athletes did not put up a goods show. One saving grace was the young Kerala girl, P.T. Usha. Each time she entered the stadium, she received a loud clapping by visitors. The giant score –board had only one image on it-the dusky, long legged athlete in the green silk shorts and saffron-and white vest with the number 67. The camera and the 70, 000 spectators constantly watched and cheered her from the start to the finish. She emerged the star athlete at Seoul. The girl with a tongue-twisting name, Pilavulakandi Thekeparambil Usha, won four gold medals and one silver medal at the races. Other Indian and foreign athletes recognized her superiority on the track.

``I am never confident of winning a race when she is in the next lane,’’ said Lydia de Vega, the Philippine spirit star who edged Usha out f the possible Gold in the women’s hundred meters at Seoul. The British coach, Gim Alford, said, ``Usha is a first class athlete, a tough competitor and a terrific runner to watch.’’ Usha ran three races within 110 minutes.

Usha’s four gold medals were only the beginning, she has been given more cash awards than any one in the history of Indian sports. The state and central Governments, her employers and fans alike gave her many cash gifts, valued at Rupees 20 Lakhs. Her coach was given the Dronacharya award or excellent coaching.

In order to improve her status in world sports, India needs many more P.T. Usha and such like sports champions towards this end the sports Authority of India has launched different schemes or expanding sports facilities in the country. Sports and physical education are now a compulsory part of studies in schools and collages. Scholarship is being offered to talented sportsmen and sportswomen. Sports talent is being encouraged in very possible way. A number of new playgrounds, swimming pools and Stadia having modern facilities are being built in various town and cities.



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