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PT Usha, Anju Bobby George in war of words

Kochi, March 18: P T Usha has not taken kindly to Anju Bobby George"s remarks that the “Payyoli express" was not a world class athlete in her heydays, but said she would not comment on the ace long jumper"s credentials as “she is just a child."

Anju, in a television interview, had said though she would not like to belittle Usha"s achievements but would not consider her as a world class athlete.
She had obliquely hinted that Usha finished fourth in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics 400m Hurdles because of the boycott by athletes from the erstwhile Eastern bloc. When asked why Usha was not her idol, Anju said since the Kerala runner was not a world class athlete she could not be her idol.

“I am looking up to only world standard athletes," Anju had said in an interview to Malayala manorama TV channel, adding, “Milkha Singh and Usha are only asian level athletes."

Reacting to Anju"s remarks, Usha said she would not want to hurt Anju now as that could affect her preparations for the Beijing Olympics.

“India is expecting a medal from Anju at the Beijing Olympics. If I answer to her comments, that will hurt her. I am not prepared to put her in such a mental state," she said.

“How can she (Anju) decide on my credentials? International Amateur Atheletic Federation had selected me in 1985 and 1986 as one of the best eight athletes in the world," a hurt Usha responded.

“Anju is like a small child to me. I have seen her grow before my eyes. She has to grow further," Usha said.

Story first published: Tuesday, March 18, 2008, 18:10 [IST]
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