Disappointment was in the air in Mangalore on Thursday with city-bred athlete Sahana Kumari failing to qualify for the finals of the high jump in Olympics.
The 31-year-old athlete could clear only 1.80 m in London as against her national record 1.92 m which she set recently in Hyderabad.
Purushotham Poojary, her coach in the initial years of her career and Physical Education Director at Sri Gokarnanatheshwara College, from where she graduated in 2002, was disappointed but was happy that the athlete could reach London. Even if she had achieved her career best she could have qualified for the final, Mr. Poojary said.
Unlike sportspersons from countries such as Jamaica, who land in Olympics village a month in advance, Sahana had gone to London only a week ago, Mr. Poojary said. She did not have adequate time for acclimatisation. In addition, she had to arrange for the travel of her Russian coach out of her funds, he said.
District Sports School Athletics Coach Vasanthakumar, who agreed that acclimatisation could be a key reason, said she may not have managed to handle the pressure that is associated with Olympics.
He said Indian athletes needed more international exposure to develop the ability to handle pressure. Ex-serviceman and national-level sprinter Lakshman Rai said he was very keen to watch her perform in Olympics but could not do so because of power failure in his area. However, he wondered whether Sahana, “a good athlete” could not adjust to the environs of the cold country. Mr. Poojary said the athlete, a mother of a five-year-old child, would hog limelight in the national level for another two or three years.