We’re nonetheless there, don’t rely us out, says Srabani Nanda

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Two years in the past, the Indian girls’s 4x100m relay workforce was very assured of constructing it to the Tokyo Olympics. That didn’t occur and the final yr has seen one setback after one other, particularly on the doping entrance.

Olympian S. Dhanalakshmi, and later M.V. Jilna, who had been set to go to the Commonwealth Video games in Birmingham final yr as a part of the dash relay workforce, failed dope assessments and in December, Nationwide 100m record-holder Dutee Chand — a former World College Video games champion and Asian Video games silver medallist — additionally fell into the doping internet.

And, in keeping with Nationwide coach Radhakrishnan Nair, prime sprinter Hima Das suffered an harm simply earlier than the April 15 Indian Grand Prix in Bengaluru forcing her to overlook the Federation Cup.

The Asian Championships (Thailand, July), World Championships (Hungary, August) and the Asian Video games (China, September) are lined up this yr however now it appears just like the dash relay workforce has nearly collapsed.

Quickest this yr

“I can’t say it’s now not there. You continue to have Jyothi Yarraji, Archana (Suseendran) and myself. We’d like simply want another, another lady from right here. So, for the Asians, we’re nonetheless there,” mentioned Srabani Nanda, the nation’s quickest lady this yr after successful the 100m gold on the Federation Cup in a season-best 11.57s on Tuesday, in a chat with The Hindu right here.

Srabani, fifth in India’s all-time 100m record together with her 11.36s which got here in Florida in June 2021, has been coaching in Jamaica underneath Stephen Francis who had coached Olympic and World champions Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce earlier.

Deliver them collectively

So, she shouldn’t be a Nationwide camper and the Athletics Federation of India has a coverage that it’ll not embrace non-campers in its relay groups for main championships.

“I don’t know who’s within the camp and who shouldn’t be. If athletes are out of camp, you need to carry them collectively and make a workforce. If the federation brings us collectively, it can work,” mentioned the Olympian, a former Asian 200m bronze medallist, who was within the dash relay workforce that completed fifth within the 2022 Commonwealth Video games.

“India is without doubt one of the greatest in Asia, so we can’t really feel like we’re not there. Athletes are nonetheless coaching, placing their work so you can not put that mindset into them proper now. As a result of, that is the beginning of the season.”

Can’t management folks

What’s operating in her thoughts concerning the athletes who’ve fallen into the dope internet?

“As a person athlete in a person sport, I don’t take into consideration different athletes. I can’t management folks, I’d simply say disappointing and hopefully it shouldn’t occur,” mentioned Srabani, who ran in 5 Jamaican meets this yr earlier than opening her Indian season in Ranchi.

“I don’t actually like this, what younger individuals are into. Hopefully, I can change it doing every thing clear.”

“And greater than that, they need to know the affect. By doping, you spoil your physique, your life and your achievements.”

Whereas the 200m took the 32-year-old from Odisha to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, she seems to be focusing extra on the 100m this yr. And she or he’s obtained a giant objective within the shorter dash.

“I’m going on and off. I haven’t achieved a lot 200 this season as a result of that’s the plan of coaching. I did loads of 100m however I went to the Olympics within the 200 so I really feel it’s my pet occasion however that’s not at all times the case. When I’m match, I’m going for each.

“I at all times need to run quick, do a sub-11 (Nationwide document, Dutee Chand’s 11.17s). That was at all times my objective since I went to Jamaica. So hopefully, with God’s grace it can come.”

Jamaican classes

Her 4 years in Kingston supplied her loads of classes.

“It’s a giant expertise for us Indian athletes to be with these folks (Jamaicans), they’re the world’s greatest. I used to be like a queen in a pond (again dwelling), then I met the sharks within the ocean,” mentioned Srabani who’s supported in a giant means by the Odisha Authorities.

However initially, progress was very sluggish.

“For the primary few years, I didn’t enhance a lot as a result of it was fully totally different. Now, I’m feeling higher technically.”

Robust life

The sudden advancing of main Nationwide championships just like the Federation Cup and the Inter-State meet, that are choice meets for the Asian and World Championships and the Asian Video games, has upset athletes’ plans in a giant means. The issue is larger for athletes like Srabani who’re coaching overseas.

“The very first thing is the sudden leap in the price of air tickets after which now we have to alter plans and rush into the season. I don’t understand how all people is managing,” she mentioned.

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