Anilda, Anu may make relay team for Worlds

An Olympic bronze medallist with the Soviet Union sprint relay team in 1968, the 72-year-old Galina Bukharina, the national coach for quartermilers, hurdlers and relay runners, feels that both the Indian men’s and women’s 4x400m relay are capable of entering the final at the Worlds.

“The first three spots are confirmed with Nirmala (Sheoran), M.R. Poovamma and Jisna Mathew… Anilda Thomas, R. Anu and Juana Murmu could be taking the other three places,” Galina Bukharina said.

They are yet to run their first major 400m final this season but Olympian Anilda Thomas and R. Anu appear to have already sealed their berths in the Indian relay team for the coming London World Championships.

“The first three spots are confirmed with Nirmala (Sheoran), M.R. Poovamma and Jisna Mathew… Anilda Thomas, R. Anu and Juana Murmu could be taking the other three places,” Galina Bukharina, the national coach for quartermilers, hurdlers and relay runners, told Sportstsar here on Monday evening.

So what about Debashree Majumdar, who was a part of the Indian team that struck gold at the recent Asian championships?

“Debashree is unwell, she has a problem every two or three weeks. We thought it was a lung infection, she appears to have other problems too,” said the Russia-born American.

“She is a very good runner and I think I will shift her to the 200m next year,” he said.

With Tintu Luka, who ran the relay in the Rio Olympics, also down with dengue fever, it looks like Galina does not have too many options.

An Olympic bronze medallist with the Soviet Union sprint relay team in 1968, the 72-year-old feels that both the Indian men’s and women’s 4x400m relay are capable of entering the final at the Worlds.

And she was very impressed with the men’s scene here.

“I came here a few months ago and I’ve not had a real close look at your athletes, but I feel your men look much more promising than your women, at least for the next one year,” said Galina. “Beyond that, I can’t say.”

And she adopted a softer tone when asked about athletes who were skipping National camps, opting to train with their personal coaches.

“Some athletes may have a strong bond with their personal coaches, they may feel comfortable with them than with another coach. I can understand that, I don’t have anything against that,” she said.

But she was keen that relay runners come together at least a week or 10 days before a major competition to work on the baton exchange and other techniques.

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