Kochi: Legendary athlete and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president PT Usha on Saturday sought Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s help to end the troubles and problems that her academy is facing.
India’s greatest female athlete alleged that acts of encroachment and hooliganism at Usha School of Athletics, in Balussery, had increased since she was nominated as the Member of Parliament of Rajya Sabha last year.
Usha broke down while addressing a press conference in Delhi, expressing her deep concern about safety of female athletes at her academy, which was established in 2002 and offers training to thousands of budding athletes from across the country.
The athlete who missed on an Olympic medal by 1/100th of a second in the 1984 Games said she had not been able to build a fence around the academy due to financial constraints.
The IOA president said some persons recently barged into the academy and began construction work. Following a police complaint, the encroachers were removed from the academy.
“Some people barged into the compound of Usha School of Athletics and began construction work. When management confronted them, they misbehaved. They claimed that they had permission from Panangad panchayat… we complained to the police, and work was stopped,” Usha said.
Usha claimed that drug addicts enter the academy and waste is dumped in the 30-acre complex in Balussery.
“People including drug addicts, couples barge into the compound at night and some dump waste into the drainage. We are being targeted continuously. We need to make sure of the safety of our girls. We request Kerala CM interfere and resolve this issue,” she said.
“Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) has given the land on lease… I expect all the stakeholders, including KSIDC and the chief minister to intervene and ensure that this kind of encroachment into the athletics school is stopped once and for all. There has always been some kind of a problem and it has increased in recent times,” Usha stated.
The Asian Games gold-medallist, who was elected IOA president recently, has helped develop Olympians like Tintu Luka and Jisna Mathew in her academy.