Focus should be on athletes: Anand

first_imgKolkata, Apr 24 (PTI) At a time the sporting fraternity is divided over Salman Khan becoming brand ambassador for the Indian contingent at the upcoming Olympics, five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand today said that the focus should be to address the needs of the Rio-bound athletes. “We want everyone to get involved and participate but that should not be at expense of sport. Its not really for me either and or. If the things sportspersons need are addressed then theres no conflict of involving non sports people,” Anand told reporters at his felicitation ceremony here. Indian Olympic Associations decision to make the Bollywood superstar as the goodwill ambassador for the Rio-bound contingent yesterday, snowballed into a controversy with many like star wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and legendary sprinter Milkha Singh criticising the decision. Anand said, “Its not a question of either and or. Its better if both work. I hope we get some success in Rio. Its too late to start preparing. Its essentially you have already prepared. You can only fine-tune now.” He also extended his good wishes to Indias latest sensation Dipa Karmakar whos become the first Indian woman gymnast to qualify for Olympics. “Its really nice to see another sport where theres a breakthrough and doing well. Now we have presence in gymnastics, its very nice and all the best wishes to her,” he said. Having finished third at the World Chess Candidates Tournament in Moscow last month, Anand failed to qualify for the World Championship for the first time in 10 years but the 46-year-old said retirement was the last thing on his mind. Terming that it would be a shocking day, he said: “Im not seriously thinking about it because Ive been playing well. Im trying to be positive. Its very hard to plan for retirement. All my life Ive been playing and competing has been the most natural thing. That (Retirement) will be a kind of shock. I dont think I can get ready for it. Having said that, it will happen one day and I will have to deal with it.” Reflecting on the Candidates tournament, he said, “I found it very strange. I was having these highs and at the same time I was losing games. I was still impulsive and it was a roller-coaster. It caught me as surprise as well.” Anand conceded that there would be tough roads ahead to qualify again but said he would took it in his stride. “I was seeded but this time Ive to qualify again. It has to be through World Cup or rating. Thats the first challenge, and then I will go from there. Certainly I will try again. Next time I expect new faces to join in. I hope I will still qualify and manage to try,” said Anand. More PTI TAP PDS PDSadvertisementlast_img read more