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  ‘Want to do the best time I can’

‘Want to do the best time I can’

| SANDEEP MENON
Published : Jul 21, 2016, 11:34 pm IST
Updated : Jul 21, 2016, 11:34 pm IST

Eight years ago, as a young Jamaican sprinter trail blazed his way into the record books and Olympic lore with a blistering sprint in Beijing, the world rejoiced at the arrival of the new global pheno

Srabani Nanda
 Srabani Nanda

Eight years ago, as a young Jamaican sprinter trail blazed his way into the record books and Olympic lore with a blistering sprint in Beijing, the world rejoiced at the arrival of the new global phenomenon.

Blessed with an infectious smile and brimming with more than a little endearing, self confidence, Usain Bolt became the poster boy for athletics.

“Oh he celebrated before finishing the 100m dash and still broke the record. He could have easily done better,” was the astonished comment on everyone’s lips. The world had received a new messiah whose very name gave the world all it needed to know. It was always meant to be. How could a man be that fast !

Back in India, an awestruck 17-year-old girl watched the highlights of the race on television and it changed her life.

Eight years on, Srabani Nanda is weeks away from realising her Olympic dream having qualified for the 200m event following a 23.07 second effort in Kazakhstan.

But she never forgot the moment where everything changed.

“At the time there was inter-state competition happening and I had done a meet record in 200m. We were watching highlights — I didn’t see it live because of the meet. Bolt came on and there was so much publicity about him and the sprint events. That’s when I thought I want to do this,” recalled Nanda.

“(Before that) There was no Olympic craze as such in me. I did sport but I didn’t think to that level. That Olympics happened and I got to know how many went from India and from there on the idea came and I started to search for a path to get there. Slowly I got more and more knowledge because when we start, we have very little knowledge about the journey. It took me eight years to get here.

“I met him (Bolt) in Glasgow and took a picture with him there,” she is quick to add with a smile.

The Odia sprinter has left no stone unturned in her preparation to get herself into the best shape she can.

“I have been preparing for two years and it was my target to qualify for the Olympics. In India, we try to qualify and then only think about the medal. It’s a step by step process. I will keep continuing to train how I have been to keep fit and injury free,” said the sprinter.

“Looking ahead, I want to break the national record (22.2 seconds) and put on a good show there. I am not going to say I am heading into the Olympics with the hopes of a medal. It would be great if we did win a medal in athletics. What I want to do is the best that I can and get the best time I can,” remarked the 25-year-old adding that her training at Thiruvananthapuram before and Bengaluru now had been extremely productive.

With an accomplished relay background consisting of multiple medals in the 4x100m event at international meets, there was a chance for the Phulbani-born to earn two events but it was not to be.

Location: India, Karnataka, Bengaluru