Kathmandu, Nepal, December 4, 2019: India’s 10,000 metres South Asian Games gold medal winner Suresh Kumar has a dream – that one day there will be an IPL-style circuit for athletics in his country. “Athletics in India needs to be marketed better. If the sport had something like what cricket has then I’m 100 per cent certain that Indian athletes will soon be able to dominate the rest of Asia,” said Kumar after easily winning the men’s 10,000m race at Dasharath Stadium on Wednesday. India dominates the athletics scene in South Asia. Kumar’s gold was the fifth gold in track and field at these Games – India won 10 medals on the opening day on Tuesday including four golds – and more is expected from the regional powerhouse before the athletics programme ends on Saturday. “But I think if we are to make a bigger impact on the international stage like the Olympics then I believe we need an annual circuit for athletics just like what other sports have,” Kumar pointed out. India won 20 medals including eight golds in track and field at last year’s Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, finishing third behind China (34 medals-12 gold) and Bahrain (23-10) in athletics. India has never won a gold medal in athletics at the Olympics. Apart from the cash-rich Indian Premier League in cricket, the country also boasts similar leagues in football, hockey, badminton and kabaddi resulting in the sport attracting foreign players leading to an increase in the competitiveness of local talent. “We would also get much-needed resources like foreign coaches. Athletics in India needs more exposure. We also have to go out and compete overseas. It’s only through regular competition that we can get better. If I was training and competing in Europe I would be able to better my personal best and become more competitive,” Kumar added. The 28-year-old Kumar has a personal best of 28 minutes and 57 seconds in the 10,000m. He was way off that mark on Wednesday, finishing on 29:33.61, but it was still enough to win the gold medal. Sri Lanka’s Shan Mugeswaran won the silver in 30:49.20 and hometown favourite Deepak Adhikari took bronze in 30:50.06. “The conditions were tough. Running at high altitude is difficult and that was one reason why I couldn’t come close to my PB. But I’m proud to win a gold for my country,” Kumar added.