A champion athlete Galina Bukharina is currently chiselling India’s relay squads. The 73-year-old Russian ensures that when it comes to discipline and a strong work ethic, she gives no quarter to the quarter-milers.
Galina isn’t someone who hesitates to call a spade a spade. In an interview to Indian Express she said -When Hima joined her after winning India’s first Worlds medal at a track event, things didn’t start off on the right foot.
Galina felt the attention that the Assamese prodigy received post her Worlds triumph went to her head. She saw that the teenager was hesitant to join the team practice and would arrive fashionably late.
Late is a trigger word for Galina. She kept patient initially till she felt it was high time and finally put her foot down.
“The first day, she came to practice 10 minutes late, the next day 20 minutes, and the third day she came one hour 10 minutes late. One hour 10 minutes ! She came up to me and asked ‘coach what should I do?’ I said, ‘I don’t know. My time is over and I am going’. My work was done and I went away. After 10 minutes she came to my room and apologised and I had enough time to recover her before the Asian Games. After that, she did not miss a single practice and was very obedient. These lessons, they have to be taught. They have to understand that we are doing our job,” Galina said.
Galina feels the Dhing runner is immensely talented but she has a long, long way to go before she achieves star status. The moment Hima’s lackadaisical approach towards practice was sorted, she did more than impress the seasoned coach. Galina feels she has the ideal qualities of an athlete that a coach can mould.
“She’s tough. But she didn’t understand her abilities completely, and me neither. After the first physical test I set for her, I saw that she has very good qualities. She is a winner inside and it doesn’t matter what she is doing, she wants to to be the best at it. In each exercise that she does she puts maximum effort,” Galina said.