Hima Das skipped the 4th Grand Prix and now uncertain for the Doha Asian Athletic Championships she is trying to come to the shape after almost eight week lay off due to her examinations and her coach thinks that it may take her 12-24 months to scorch the track again.
Her chief coach Gelina Bukharina, 74 year old Russian born US citizen talking to Indian Express yesterday by the side of the 4th Grand Prix at Tau Devi lal Stadium, Haryana, however, expressed her displeasure of tendency of avoiding competition by Hima and some of the other athletes.
“Patience and practice,” were the two key words she repeated as she took down painstaking note for 4 hours on the various athletes under her watchful eye.
The message also holds good for someone like Hima Das, the rising star and World U-20 champion. Das didn’t run on Wednesday.
In her first race of the domestic season, at the previous edition of the GP in Sangrur, she clocked an underwhelming 55.19 seconds.
Having coached Das over the past few months, Bukharina says, the 19-year-old with a personal best of 50.79, will need some time to scorch the track again. After her breakthrough at the junior world championships, Hima won silver at the Jakarta Asian Games.
“I know she jumped too high in terms of timings according to her age and there were expectations from her. To stay at this height, she needs one or two years of practice again and will have to start from scratch. After all those races and the packed schedule, she decided to sit for her exams. Even though such things are not good in the middle of the season, it is still a long route for the Olympics. To keep your focus, one should have everything in life settled. We allowed her a break of six weeks but believe me, six weeks is too much of time in an athlete’s career. When she rejoins the camp, we have to start from scratch. But she has the talent to do so and she knows how to remain focused. We will sit down and discuss when she returns,” Bukharina says.
But the biggest issue, Hima herself is not so sure whether she has the temperament for a disciplined life of athletes under the watchful eyes of the coaches at NIS Patiala or shine under the celebrity lifestyle from her home state Assam or to the Bollywood dos.
The Indian Athletic Federation of India is also keeping a watch and is most likely to intervene as Hima is still not decided to take part in Doha meet or not. Unless she shows some dramatic improvement in the next few weeks, which is physically impossible, she may not compete at Doha to save her from further pressure.
At the moment the basic goal is to get down to her personal best of 50.79 from the current 55.19 seconds.