National athletics coach, Bahadur Singh, is not expecting any miracles, but says he will be happy if 14 of his wards, competing in the London Olympics, better their own career best performances in the Games.
Indian athletics contingent includes three jumpers, three runners, four throwers and an equal number of walkers.
While five of them are aware of what it means to be a part of the sporting extravaganza, the rest of them will be competing in the Olympics for the first time. But Bahadur feels they should make full use of the opportunity at hands.
“For nine of the 14 athletes, this is their first Olympics. They should make full use of this opportunity to put up a good show. It is going to be a great learning experience for them,” Bahadur said.
Bhadur said track and field events in the Olympics hold special significance and that is why, be it Carl Lewis or Usain Bolt or any other athlete, everybody wants to leave a mark in the Games.
Talking about India’s chances in the Olympics, the coach said, “If Vikas (Gowda) improves his personal best, he can achieve a respectable ranking. The same holds true for two women throwers Krishna Poonia, an Asian games winner, and Seema Antil.”
“Triple Jumper Ranjeeth Maheshwary has won a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games. He was a gold medallist in Asian track and field meet. He qualified in ‘b’ category; he is in good shape and can cross 70m. Triple jumper Mayookha Johny also made it through ‘b’ category and has the ability to improve. I am also expecting her to better the National record,” Bahadur said.
“High Jumper Sahana Kumari also has a chance to improve upon her performance,” Bahadur insisted.
Meanwhile, the coach was all praise for Shot putter Om Prakash and said he has the potential to be in the reckoning at the marquee event.
Om Prakash, an Asian Champion who will be making his debut appearance in the Olympics, qualified in ‘A’ category.
Bahadur also hailed sprint queen P.T.Usha’s protege, Tintu Luka, and said the 800m runner has got a great future ahead.
“The young runner has got a great chance to showcase her talent before the world audience. An improved showing in 800m will boost her morale and will do wonder for her future,” he said.
The coach was also optimistic about Sudha Singh.
“Going by her current form, she can improve upon her timing,” Bahadur said about the steeple chase runner.
“I am expecting a new national record from her,” he added.
Asked about the prospects of walkers, Bhadur pointed out .
“In walking events we have improved a lot as three out of the four made it through ‘A’ category,” he said.
Gurmeet, Irfan and Baljinder made it to the quadrennial event through ‘A’ qualification mark while Basant Bahadur Rana in the 50km made the cut through ‘B’ category.
Bahadur also expected the lone Indian marathoner in the fray, Ram Singh Yadav, to give a better performance at the Olympics.