While the coronavirus and subsequent lockdown has crushed dreams of many people across the country, it has also given a ray of hope to many others. Amongst them comes the name of Sandra Babu.
An eighteen year old from the state of Kerala, Sandra is a track and field athlete who specialises in long jump and triple jump. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, she was training for the World U20 Athletics Championship which was to be held in Nairobi in July this year.
The surge of the pandemic meant that Sandra’s dream of representing the country in the World U20 Athletics Championship was crushed. Sandra was naturally dejected by this situation before the news about the postponement of 2020 Tokyo Olympics broke.
The postponement of Olympics was just what Sandra needed, as this meant that she now has a chance in her hand to qualify for the Olympics at the age of just eighteen years.
If the Olympics were to be held as decided, there was little chance that Sandra would have made it to Tokyo. But the forced postponement means that the youngster now has almost a year to book a spot for herself in the Tokyo Games. The qualification window for the Olympics will start on December 1st 2020 and will be open until June 29th 2021.
This seven month period between December and June is Sandra’s shot to glory, and she knows it. The youngster has been training hard to keep herself fit during the lockdown.
“I do indoor muscle strengthening exercises for 1.5 hours in the morning and evening daily. My coach T P Ouseph sends me the exercises through WhatsApp and monitors my daily routine for getting the maximum benefit out of it,” Sandra had said to The New Indian Express in April this year.
Sandra’s claim to fame was when she bagged a bronze medal for India in long jump at the 2019 South Asian Games in Nepal. She also won a silver medal for triple jump with a personal best attempt at the All India Inter-University Athletics Championship in February this year.
In hindsight, the postponement of Olympics couldn’t have come at a better time for Sandra Babu; and the youngster would be eyeing the seven month qualification window to book her berth in an unlikely Olympics.