Bangalore, May 16 (IANS) Maria Mutola, the 2000 Olympics 800m gold medallist, three-time 800m World champion and seven-time 800m Indoor World champion, says self-belief and a sound coaching programme are the keys to success.
At a media conference here Thursday, Mutola, the brand ambassador for the World 10K Bangalore, to be run here Sunday, said: "World champions arise from the most unlikely of places and there is no reason why India cannot produce one. The young athletes need to believe in themselves but most importantly they need to go under the right coaching programme."
Citing her own example, Maria said she started out as a swimmer but had to give it up as her parents could not afford to pay the coaching fees. She then began playing football, where she was noticed by a famous literary figure who spoke to her about athletics and then sought permission from her father to begin her training.
"It was extremely difficult for me to train in Mozambique as there were no synthetic tracks but the opportunity to travel to the Seoul Olympics was an eye opener. I realised I would have to work much harder if I hoped to make it to the top. It was after Seoul that I got a scholarship to the United States which changed my life," she said.
"My years of hard work began paying off as I won the World Championships, yet the Olympic gold eluded me and it required a lot of mental strength and support for me to keep on working hard. The Olympic victory in 2000 was definitely the greatest moment of my life."
Mutola is currently coaching South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya.
"It feels great to be a coach while it is a bit easier than being on the track. The satisfaction derived from seeing your disciples getting better and faster is very fulfilling," said Mutola.