Rio experience will help in next Olympics: Srabani

Bhubaneswar: Despite her disappointing performance in the Rio Olympics, ace woman sprinter Srabani Nanda feels that the experience she gained at the mega event would help her put up a much better performance at the next Olympics as well as forthcoming international events.

“I gained very good experience at the Rio Olympics, which is unique compared to any other event. I had participated in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. But I had never met such a huge number of stars at other international tournaments. This will help me immensely in the next Olympics and the forthcoming international events. Besides, if I share my experience with the athletes of my country, it will help them immensely”, Srabani told OTV soon after her arrival here in the city.

She also said most people have the notion that it is very difficult for a sprinter from India to qualify for the Olympics. “But I and Dutee have proved them wrong after qualifying for the mega event”.

Asked why she failed to maintain her Olympic qualifying timing of 23.07 seconds in the 200 metre run and ended up with 23.58 seconds, Srabani said she is not happy with the finishing time.

“Though my start-up timing was good overall, I was excited but at the same time felt a bit nervous as it was a new track for me and the athletes with whom I competed were completely unknown to me. Though I am quite happy with my run, I am a bit disappointed with my timing,” she added.

To a question on her future planning, Srabani said she would leave for her home straightaway. “I am returning to my native place in Phulbani town after two years. I want to take rest there for some days. There are no major international events this year. Next year, there will be World Athletics Championship and Asian Athletic Championship in which I will try to perform better,” she said.

Asked about her joining as Junior Manager (Group-B) in Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC), a job offered by the state government, Srabani said she will join very soon as she has got the no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Railways where she was serving earlier. “I must thank the Odisha government for boosting my morale by offering me this job.

Replying to a question on whether the state or the Central government should make efforts to create Olympians for the future or just leave it to the Olympic qualifiers by giving them cash award after they win a medal, she said financial reward is necessary for any sportsperson to prepare for his/her event. It makes a sportsperson feel assured financially and psychologically. “But going by my experience and what I have found in other countries, sportspersons in India don’t get the required assistance in time. If this problem is sorted out, we will be at the top,” she maintained.