Foreign countries have better sports infra: Srabani

Bangalore: Ace woman sprinter of Odisha Srabani Nanda, who hogged the limelight after qualifying for the Rio Olympics in the 200-metre run and 4X400 relay race, feels that foreign countries have better sports infrastructure compared to India.

“In foreign countries, you get the opportunity to compete with promising athletes. Besides, you also get advanced training and coaching facilities there, which I think is lacking in India to some extent. Besides, there are a lot of areas in sports like science and nutrition which are necessary for improvement in the performance of the athletes. I don’t think such things are presently available in our country,” she said in an exclusive interview with OTV here.

Replying to a question on her practice in foreign countries like South Africa, the ace sprinter said; “When I was a minor, I had got the opportunity to undergo training in foreign countries. At that time, I had no experience and exposure. After undergoing training there, I gained valuable experience”.

But she said the success she got recently was under the guidance of an Indian coach. “In this context, I would never say that there are no experienced coaches in my country. But there are other shortcomings which we can overcome,” she noted.

Asked about her feelings after qualifying for the Rio Olympics in 200-metre run event in Kazakhstan, Srabani thanked the people of Odisha and the country for fulfilling their aspirations. She also gave full credit to her coaches Nilamadhab Deo and Tarun Sir who had helped her become the first women athlete from Odisha to have qualified the 200-metre run for the mega event. “Above all, I am grateful to my family members, who are always with me and have always inspired me to do well,” she added.

Srabani also thanked the state government, the Odisha Athletic Association (OAA), Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Athletics Federation of India (AFI).

To a question whether the people of her state and the country can expect a medal from her in the Olympics, she said nothing can be said right now. “No one can predict the future. If all goes well and my body remains fit, I will definitely try my best to win a medal for my country. Let everyone pray for me for the medal,” she said.

Talking about the long journey in her career, Srabani said; “I started my professional career in athletics after joining the Sports Hostel at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar at the age of 13. I had been practising under Deo Sir who has always helped me a lot in all junior level events in the state and the country. Later, when I gradually started joining national level camps, I realised the amount of effort one needs to make to go up the ladder of success. Then I set a goal to participate in the Olympics and win a medal. After all, it has been a journey of 10-12 years”.

Notably, Srabani stormed into the Rio Olylmpics after clocking 23.07 seconds in the 200-metre run in the XXVI International Meeting G. Kosanov Memorial at Almaty in Kazakhstan on June 26 this year.

The Olympic qualifying timing for 200 metre run was 23.20 seconds.