BHUBANESWAR:From May onwards, Odisha woman sprinter Srabani Nanda has been riding a wave of success, bagging four Asian bronze and four national gold medals within a period of 10 weeks. But for years, Srabani played second fiddle to her junior statemate Dutee Chand, who enjoyed all the limelight as the most promising woman sprinter of the country before the Amateur Athletic Federation of India banned her from competing in the women’s category of domestic or international meets, starting from June 2014.
Dutee found some relief in December as the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) provisionally allowed her to compete in one international and all domestic meets, pending final decision. But it was a heartening development that Srabani proved herself the fastest woman in the country.
Srabani cites long-term planning, hard work and patience as her secrets.
“The two-year-long training stint in South Africa and Australia helped me a lot to achieve the recent success. I owe it to Mittal Charitable Trust and the Odisha government for sponsoring my foreign training stint. I am also thankful to Sharon Hannan, former coach of Olympic champion Sally Pearson for fine-tuning my skills and guiding me in right direction,” Srabani told Express.
“Training abroad and competing back home was not easy as it involved a lot of travelling, change in climatic conditions and diet. During these two years, I was happy winning bronze or silver in domestic meets. But I was confident that gold was not far away and kept on improving my timings,” revealed Srabani.
Srabani started her wave of success with a sprint double in the Federation Cup at Mangaluru, where she was the best woman athlete and capped it last week with another double (100m and 4x100m relay) in the National Inter-State Senior Championship at Chennai.
She has set sights on the most important target of her career — next year’s Rio Olympics. “Like every athlete, I dream to compete in the Olympic Games. But to be realistic, I have to first attain the qualifying mark, which include 11.32 secs for 100m and 23.20 secs in 200m,” said sprinter, whose best timings in 100 and 200 metres are 11.48 and 23.54 seconds respectively.
But Srabani says she needs additional support to make it to Rio. “I need a personal coach, physio and trainer. I also need funds for special diet and training. All these can be fulfilled if I am included in the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Scheme,” she opined.