Galina Bukharina has been the Indian (men & women’s) team’s 400m and relay teams coach for the past five years. Under her watch, India did well in the Asian Games, winning a gold, four silver and a bronze medal.
The 77-year-old Russian is of the firm opinion that for India to be a world beater in 400m will take its own time.
She, nevertheless, was excited at the Indian team’s performance in the 7th International Sprint & Relay Cup at the Atatürk University Stadium, Erzurum (Turkey) recently.
“[This meet] showed there are lots of talent. In men’s more so. Despite the [head] winds being strong we won almost everything in Erzurum.”
The team, comprising T. Santosh Kumar (men’s 400mH silver), A. Dharun (men’s 400m H bronze), Jyotika Sri Dandi (gold in women’s 400m, P. Subha (silver in 400m) and Summy (bronze in 400m) did really well in Turkey.
Addionally, S. Dhanalakshmi who is part of the relay team finished first in women’s 100m & 200m in final-1 & final-2 respectively while Hima Das got the gold in final-1 in women’s 100m.
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According to Galina, the achievement in Turkey was good considering that it had teams from Greece, Iraq, Lebanon and a few European teams. “For us, relay is important to get international recognition. We can win. If [Neeraj] Chopra can win, [in] other events India can win,” she said.
Galina felt that the current 400m group that India has is possibly the strongest.
“In my fifth year, I can say that we have the strongest group of 8-9 people at the same level. They know what they have to compete against each other, they practice with each other everyday. They know their pros and cons. There will be no compromises [in picking the final team] for the World championships in Oregon from July 15,” she said.
The coach said the reigning Asian Games 400m hurdles silver medallist A. Dharun was unlucky to be best with injuries at crucial times but dubbed him a smart athlete. “A coach is not allowed to have pets, but Dharun is one of my pets. He is respectful, has a high human quality.” Galina described Hima Das as a leader, who will be able to help the team.