Asian Youth C’ships: A medal was expected, says Thabitha’s coach

P. M. Thabitha won a gold medal in the girls’ 100m hurdles, clocking a personal best of 13.86s. The result wasn’t entirely surprising, says her coach.

P. M. Thabitha in action in the girls' 100m hurdles heat in the Asian youth athletics championships in Hong Kong on Friday. Photo: Special Arrangement

Chennai girl P. M. Thabitha clocked her personal best timing of 13.86s to win gold in the girls’ 100m hurdles in the Asian youth athletics championships in Hong Kong on Friday.

Speaking about the win, her coach P. Nagarajan said they were confident she would win a medal. “Looking at last year results, I believed she would win a medal. Because, the gold medal winner (in the girls’ 100m hurdles) had clocked 14.08s last year. Thabitha’s then personal best was 14.02s which she had achieved in the 2018 Youth Nationals in Vadodara. She was also confident she can win a medal,” he said.

‘Exceptional’

Nagarajan said he spoke to her after the heat and had told her to aim to clock below-14 seconds. “She had done well in the heat, clocking 14s, even as it was raining. I had told her to aim for it (below-14s) in the final. So, the timing is what’s exceptional. A medal, as I said, was expected,” he declared.

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He said the 17-year-old athlete has been training under him in the St. Joseph’s Sports Academy here for a long time now. “She used to have a slow start. That’s something we have worked on and improved. Otherwise, she is fearless for her age. I mean, you set her a task or challenge or aim and she isn’t daunted by it. She willingly and confidently undertakes it. So, you may say she’s psychologically strong. Physically, she’s got a great height for her age,” he said.

Thabitha’s next focus will be the IAAF World U-18 championships, he said, for which the venue and dates are yet to be announced.