Delhi’s middle-distance runner KM Chanda was so upset at missing out on a medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games that she went into hibernation and didn’t even speak to her coach about what went wrong in China.
The 22-year-old then decided to participate in the 37th National Games here just to get out of the slumber and put the disappointment in China behind her. She did more than that, winning a Silver Medal in the 1500m event and then bagging the 800m Gold with a time of 2:01.74s.
“I thought I would go outdoors and feel better. I’m just going through the routine and not pushing hard. I looked at the National Games as an opportunity to recover from a bad outing in China.
“I’m happy with my performance. I was disappointed to not win the gold in 1500 but I was confident in the 800m race and it showed in the performance,” she added.
But it is the disappointment at the Hangzhou Asian Games that still troubles Chanda.
She was considered one of the medal contenders in the women’s 800m event in Hangzhou. She had a personal and season best of 2:01.58 seconds. It was the fastest by an Indian female runner this year. But things didn’t go according to plan and it affected her mentally.
She then locked herself in the room for over a fortnight. “I preferred not to speak to anyone about how I failed to win a medal at the Asian Games,” she said.
Recalling her Hangzhou Asian Games experience, Chanda said as the race progressed she wasn’t able to adjust to rough tactics of middle-distance races and finished outside the medal bracket.
“My training was on the right track. Despite good preparations and having peak fitness, I wasn’t able to win a medal. I was shocked. It still hurts me badly,” she said.
Rough tactics, including jostling for inner lane is common in middle distance races. Chanda said she was elbowed twice during the opening lap of the 800m final and she didn’t retaliate due to fear of being disqualified. “I didn’t push the other competitors as I was scared of facing the penalty,” she said, adding “Had I been disqualified for pushing, it would have been worse for me.”
To avoid being boxed in, Chanda ran wide. However, as the competitors started pushing for the finish line, Chanda wasn’t able to respond. “I wasn’t able to focus on the race. My body was numb. I wasn’t able to surge at the right moment,” said Chanda, who practices at Sports Authority of India (SAI) complex in Bengaluru with the core group under Kalyan Chaudhari.
The National Games medal has brought back her confidence but she now wants to relax for a while before training for the next season. “I will take a break for a week and then speak to my coach and plan out for next year,” she added.