One of only three Commonwealth Games gold medallists for India in athletics, Vikas Gowda on Wednesday decided to quit sports.
The 34-year old discus thrower, in an interview with The Hindu from the US, said he did not want to “punish his body any more” and wanted to go out on a high instead of struggling with his fitness.
“I wanted to continue till I could manage the level I had set, I never wanted to retire or anything but I did not want to struggle with something below the benchmark I had set for myself. I love track and field, I have been throwing discus for 20 years now and never wanted to stop. But I did not want to continue putting my body through all this,” said Gowda.
The National record holder (66.28m) could only manage a bronze with a 60.81m at the Asian Championships in December 2017, his last competitive outing. Gowda is also only a handful of Indian athletes to participate in four Olympics, managing 58.99m at Rio. His best Olympic performance came in 2012, when he finished eighth with a 65.20m
Awarded the Padma Shri in 2017, Gowda became the second Indian in 56 years to win an athletics gold at the CWG with a throw of 63.64m in 2014 — the first in a field event till Neeraj Chopra joined the club this year.
Questions were raised after he skipped trials for the 2018 CWG but Gowda said he was struggling with injury. “I wanted to come for the Federation Cup (the final selection event) but I had a left knee injury that took 5-6 weeks to recover. I started training again after the CWG but the body wasn’t co-operating,” he said.
Asked about his future plans and whether he would like to be associated with Indian athletics, Gowda was non-committal.
“I will definitely be associated with track & field but right now the main target is to complete my studies and get my MBA. Not for the next few months of the next year but sometime in future there definitely is that possibility. If the federation wants my help on anything, I would love to work on it,” said Gowda.