PT Usha Backs Anti-Doping Bill, Mentions Modi & Indira Gandhi in First RS Speech

Usha said that more focus needs to be given to the field of sports medicine to help players recover from injuries.

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In her maiden speech in Rajya Sabha, legendary athlete PT Usha on Wednesday, 3 August, backed the National Anti-Doping Bill, 2022, and said that all competitions should be brought under the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).

Usha said that more focus needs to be given to the field of sports medicine and science to help players quickly recover from injuries.

Usha on 20 July took oath in Hindi as a member of the Rajya Sabha. Usha, who redefined Indian athletics during the 1980s and 1990s, was nominated to the Upper House on 6 July by the central government.

Usha became the youngest Indian sprinter to compete at the Olympics when she took part in the 1980 Moscow Olympics at the age of 16. In the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Usha finished fourth in the 400-metre hurdle event. She missed a chance to secure a bronze medal by 1/100th of a second.


What the Former Athlete Said in Her Speech:

  • Stating that the country ranks third in the number of individuals who tested positive for steroids and were punished for doping, Usha said, "We are yet to open our eyes to the doping in our country which was earlier confined only to the senior national level but has now reached the junior, college, and district levels.”

  • Pointing out that leading sporting nations have adequate support in the sports medicine system which is lacking in India, Usha added, "The new generation of sportspersons are now getting better coaches, diets, and resting facilities but there is one department which needs more focus and that will be the field of sports medicine and sports science.”

  • Noting that injuries were an inseparable part of sports and the department of sports, science, and medicine plays an important role, Usha said, "Unfortunately in our country, this branch is still in the infancy stage. We need to have immediate and special attention to this sector.”

  • "This is the time to become self-reliant and I strongly suggest all this should come under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative,” she added.

  • "There is a need to create awareness about the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs and there should be no delay in timely action and an appropriate ban against those who test positive for steroids and performance-enhancing substances," Usha said.

  • At the same time, the activity of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) should be accelerated, and it should be given the freedom to operate without any obstacles, she said.

  • Both NADA and Delhi-based National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) should get the necessary financial freedom, the Rajya Sabha MP added.

The athlete also spoke about her pursuit of sports and how she met two Prime Ministers – Indira Gandhi and Narendra Modi.

  • “…myself being a girl from remote Payyoli in Kerala, a village without any facilities to pursue my sporting dreams, met and spoke for the first time to the then Prime Minister late Indira Priyadarshiniji, which was one of the most precious moments of my life,” Usha said.

  • “…Running up to the year 2000 and training my younger generation till yesterday, this devotee [referring to herself] has dedicated herself to the betterment of Indian sports and, once again, had the rare privilege to meet Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modiji, the most admired Prime Minister…,” Usha said.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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Topics:  Narendra Modi   Indira Gandhi   Parliament 

Edited By :Karan Mahadik
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