Soma expects medals from heptathlon in Asian athletics championships

Two-time Asian Games silver medal winning heptathlete Soma Biswas says India has a good chance of bagging two medals in her favourite event in the upcoming Asian athletics championships at Bhubaneswar.

“We have got good chances in heptathlon. If Swapna and Purnima do well and gather between 5600 and 5800 points, then both of them can win medals," says Soma Biswas.   -  AFP

Two-time Asian Games silver medal winning heptathlete Soma Biswas says India has a good chance of bagging two medals in her favourite event in the upcoming Asian athletics championships at Bhubaneswar.

Soma, who won Asian Games silver medals in heptathlon in the 2002 Busan and 2006 Doha Games, said Swapna Barman and Purnima Hembram could garner two medals for the country in the prestigious event.

“We have got good chances in heptathlon. If Swapna and Purnima do well and gather between 5600 and 5800 points, then both of them can win medals. If Swapna can maintain her performance, then she can even win a medal in the Asian Games next year. With 5800 one can get a medal in the Asian Games,” Soma told Sportstar on Friday.

In the Federation Cup at Patiala earlier this month, Swapna and Purnima had bagged the gold and silver with 5897 and 5632 points respectively.

In the previous edition of the Asian championship at Wuhan, China, two years ago, Liksy Joseph (5554) and Purnima (5511) had claimed the silver and bronze medals respectively. Uzbekistan’s Ekaterina Voronina had taken the gold with 5689 points.

Among others, Soma expected spirited performances from sprinters Srabani Nanda, who had finished third in 200m with 23.54 in Wuhan in 2015 and took the first place with 23.57 in Patiala recently, and Dutee Chand, who clocked 11.48 to take the 100m gold in the Federation Cup and nurture medal hopes.

“Srabani is doing well in 200m. The Asian championship is happening in her state, so that should be an advantage. Dutee is also doing well. She also comes from Odisha. So, both have got good chances.

“Overall, the Indian athletes have the advantage of performing at home. Besides the preparations through the year, the final touch helps. Familiar weather and home supporters make a lot of difference (in this regard).”

Apart from expecting good performances from relay, middle and long distance racers and jumpers, Soma had high hopes from throwers, including javelin sensation Neeraj Chopra. “Neeraj has been performing consistently. He seems to be capable of winning medals in the World championship and the Olympics. If he continues to throw in that 82m to 85m range, then he can get a medal,” said Soma.