Interview with Vikas Gowda, India's champion discus thrower
Vikas Gowda is India’s top-ranked discus thrower, and a very serious candidate to win a medal at the upcoming Commonwealth and Asian Games. He made a big name for himself at the 2012 London Olympics with a stellar showing, and he hasn’t looked back since.
The son of an Olympic track and field coach, Vikas grew up in United States where he honed his athletic skills. But the man is not just brawn; he is quite brainy too, which is evident from his academic exploits.
Though Vikas is already a star, he still needs assistance from his fellow Indians to do well at global events. Preparing for discus throw is not an inexpensive affair, as it requires specialized training and equipment. You can help Vikas fulfill his dream of winning medals for India at the Commonwealth and Asian Games by pledging your support here.
In an exclusive interview with Ketto, Vikas spoke about his career and his short-term as well as long-term ambitions. Here are the excerpts:
Q. You were the first Indian to ever enter the finals of a throwing event in the Olympics. How does that feel?
It feels good. I work hard and there's a lot I want to accomplish.
Q. You are currently pursuing a mathematics major at the University of North Carolina. How do you balance your time between academics and sports?
When I was in school it was tough to manage time. You have to prioritize and make sacrifices so you can succeed in both academics and sports.
Q. How were you introduced to this sport?
I was introduced to sports by my father. He was a decathlete and national coach in India. I would go to practise with him when I was a kid and that's how I started.
Q. Walk us through your training regimen.
I throw three to four times a week. I also lift weights, sprints, plyometrics; there's a lot of work that goes into preparing for the season.
Q. How many hours a day do you have to practise?
I train a minimum of four hours a day. Most days are about 6 hours.
Q. What are the costs associated with your training?
There are very steep costs associated with training. Coaching fees, training equipment, facilities access, supplements, proper diet, travel, medical, and rehabilitation – they are al part of it.
Q. How would you compare the standard of training in India and that which is available abroad?
The standards in India are improving. Around the world it is very easy to access top-notch training facilities. India has good facilities but not at a lot of places. When I was a kid there were so many tracks and tennis courts, basketball courts and other sports facilities within a 10-mile drive of my house.
Q. What has been your biggest achievement yet?
I think my silver medal at the Commonwealth Games, making the final at the London Olympics, and winning gold at the Asian Championships in India are my biggest accomplishments.
Q. How is crowdfunding important to you and other rising athletes?
It is very important. It shows the athlete that people care and want you to succeed. This crowdfunding drive is going to help me bring my coach with me to the Commonwealth and Asian Games.
Q. Can you explain OGQ’s role in your life and career?
OGQ has played a very important role in my career. They believed in me when no one else did. Without them I don't know if I would have reached this level.
Q. What systems, structures and establishments do we need in India to give Indian athletes a better chance at winning at the Olympics?
I think the most important thing that can be done is making it easier to access facilities. That will increase the talent pool and give India a better chance of winning medals in the Olympics.