Federal Athletics Championships: Illness, lack of competition make it difficult for India’s athletes

The day before the federal track and field championships began at Chennai’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Friday, India’s 77-year-old Russian-American coach, Galina Bukharina, curiously watched one of the wards hers when she completes a lap. After whispering a few instructions to her, she returned to her original position, with the chronograph in hand.

Bukharina is realistic about her runner’s position. “At this point, a (world) medal in the 400m is not a realistic dream. Maybe we’ll find someone. We have to get better and better. If you look at the stats, in the men’s 400m the first 20-25 Indians are taller than many Europeans (sic) on average. They are very close to each other. “

It’s not that Bukharina hasn’t had any success. Under her watch, India shined at the Asian Games, winning one gold, four silver and one bronze. However, her ward has been having a lot of bad luck lately.

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Former Junior world champion Hima Das, who she believes is the most talented of the bunch, suffers from recurrent back pain that keeps her from running the sub-200m events. “Most children from poor families in India have a lot of problems. Hima suffers from chronic pain in her lower back. When she was young, she was very talented. Hima has swept the world with medals but I told her her next medals will be very, very hard to come by. I told her she was going to have a lot of trauma because she overgrown early. We are doing everything to help her. Last year, she was able to run 200m. This year she ran only 150m. Many athletes have contracted Covid, but Hima contracted this disease seriously. She spent two months in bed. She still has a lot of cough but she is a fighter. ”

Soft bones

Another athlete struggling with illness is Dharun Ayyasamy, the national record in the men’s 400m hurdles.

“Dharun is a very unlucky person. It’s not a disease but his bones are very soft and he always suffers from injuries. Two days ago, he had a fever and is currently lying in bed with 102 degrees,” Galina said.

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However, there has been some good news recently as India got on a good time in the International Sprint & Relay at Ataturk University Stadium in Erzurum, Turkey. “We didn’t have enough competition. We had our only contest in Erzurum and that was it. That is certainly not enough. Everyone is doing well. The first winner reached 45.83 (Tom Noah Nirmal), then 46.01 (Arokia), 46.04 (Muhammed Ajmal Variyathodi), 46.05 (Pandi Naganathan), 46.42 (Muhammed Anas Yahiya). The six were very close and with their backs to each other. The two, the strongest, Amoj (Jacob) and Rajesh, didn’t even compete. Rajesh slipped in the bus and broke his arm”.

Galina is also delighted with Dhana Lakshmi’s recent performance. In Chennai, she will compete in a strong team that includes Kiran Pahal, Priya Mohan, junior national champion Rupal Choudhary and Jisna Mathew. “Dhana Lakshmi is a very talented girl. A few weeks ago we played in Erzurum, Turkey, and the wind there was -4.3m/s. Minus! Gust. And she hit 11.26. Can you imagine? In other words, 11.26 seconds in 100m is the fastest time recorded after Dutee Chand.

As things go, Galina wants to at least lead the team to the final round of the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games. She said she preferred Arokia running the second leg in the relay because of his experience among other factors. She said, “We’re going to have a lot of tests this time around and assign everyone on the team six numbers – 1 to 6. Then we’ll discuss who’s going to run which leg. . The first leg must have a good lead. The second match, it was 200m, I want Arokia to do it because he used to run 800m and he has experience in this. Amoj has experience too but I can’t put him in there if he’s not completely fit. He must be the anchor. This is my opinion. But I also have to consider what they think and do.”

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