Olympic exclusive: Srabani Nanda talks of her sprint from Phulbani to Rio

Rio de Janeiro: With the Olympics all set to begin in Rio today, star Odia athlete Srabani Nanda, who is representing India in the 200-metre and 4X100 metre relay events, is determined to make this opportunity a memorable one. OTV caught up with her at Rio to trace her journey from Phulbani to the Olympics and her hopes and expectations for the event.

Speaking exclusively to OTV, Srabani said “I have reached Rio because of the support of Odia people and my countrymen. This platform has given me an opportunity to fulfill the dreams of the people who supported me and I hope that the support would continue. I never expected that I will be able to represent India in the Olympics. At the place where I come from – Phulbani – I only heard that only Anuradha Biswal has participated in the Olympics. I didn’t know the path to the Olympics and never knew that I had to undergo so much toil to finally make it to the Games. I would like to thank my coach Nilamadhab Deo, Tarun Shah, my family, friends and everyone who have lent their support during my journey to the Olympics. I never expected to be talking to the people of my State from Olympics venue here Rio. I never expected that Odia people will be able to see the Olympics through my eyes.”

With just hours left to for the opening ceremony, Srabani was finding it hard to hide her excitement. “I am very excited for the opening ceremony of the Games. We have received a ceremonial kit and we will be wearing traditional Indian saree. I can’t wait to meet the greatest athletes of the world and take photos and selfies with them,” a giggly Srabani said.

Srabani, whose events are scheduled for August 15, India’s Independence Day, wants to make the day even more memorable by reaching the semifinals of the events she is participating in.