We have one of the strongest 400m group: Bukharina

Galina Bukharina has been the Indian 400m and relay teams’ coach for the past five years. and under her watch, the country did well in the Asian Games, winning a gold, four silver, and a bronze medal.

The 77-year-old Russian is of the opinion that for India to be a world-beater in 400m will take its own time.

She was excited with the team’s performance in the 7th International Sprint & Relay Cup at the Atatürk University Stadium, Erzurum (Turkey) recently.

“This meet showed there is a lot of talent, more so in men. Despite the headwinds being strong, we won almost everything in Erzurum.”

In fact, the team did well in Turkey with T. Santosh Kumar (men’s 400mH silver), A. Dharun (men’s 400mH bronze), Jyotika Sri Dandi (women’s 400m gold ), P. Subha (400m silver and Summy (400m bronze) being standout performers

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.

According to Galina, the show in Turkey was good considering that there were teams from Greece, Iraq, Lebanon, and a few European teams.

“For us, the 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 is possibly India’s 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 in order to compete against each other and practice with each other every day. 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 beset 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 and has a high human quality.” Galina described Hima Das as a leader, who will be able to help the team.

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