KOCHI: She should have been on the plane to Spain by this time but Sinimole Paulose has not let the disappointment of missing this week’s World Indoor Athletics Championship put her down.
“Surely, I’d have loved to do the World Championship but competing at home also gives you a nice feeling,” said the 24-year-old who qualified for the Valencia World indoor meet by winning the 800m and 1,500m gold medals at last month’s Asian Indoor Championship in Doha, both with new records.
Sinimol will be one of the big stars at the first South Asian Championship which begins here on Friday. And since her home State was hosting the event, the pretty girl was asked to give up the Indoor World to add some glamour to the Kochi meet.
South Asian meets rarely rise above the level of our National championship but with many athletes hoping to achieve Olympic qualifying marks before the July 23 deadline for the Beijing Games, things could be different this time.
“The track is fast and I hope to at least do my personal best timings here,” said Sinimole, also the outdoor Asian champion, after a training session at the Maharaja’s Stadium here, the championship venue, on Monday. “But to go for the Olympic qualifying timings, we need athletes who could push us hard. If we could get a few meets in Europe, we could do wonders.”
When she first hit the big stage, while breaking Shiny Wilson’s 800m record at the all-India universities championship, in Kozhikode six years ago, Sinimole was a shy girl.
There’s a big change now.
“My attitude changed after the Asian Games medal (a 1,500m bronze in 2006). I used to be very nervous but after Doha I became very confident, gutsy, I knew I could handle the big stage,” said the middle-distance runner who did her schooling in Kochi.
The change is visible in her recent success in Asian-level meets. Even Dr. Nikolai Snesarev of Belarus, the National coach for distance runners, is impressed.
“Sinimole is a very intelligent athlete, the best in my group. She is a thinking athlete, she can be a good citizen too, even excel in politics, she has an excellent mind,” he said.
For now, Sinimole’s world just revolves around just four minutes, to be more precise on 4:08 seconds, a time which should carry her to the Beijing Olympics this August in the 1,500m, her strong event.
“My personal best, 4:10.51 secs, came at the Chennai Inter-State meet in 2006. I have to work really hard to go higher, probably get the National record (Sunita Rani’s 4:06.03),” said the Asian champion who is backed by Tata and represents Jharkhand on the National circuit.
But as her coach said, “we run by legs but win by mind.”