Harmilan Bains clocked personal best yesterday. But, can she qualify for Tokyo Olympics?
In a conversation with The Bridge, Harmilan had said that she will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics during the Inter-State Meet; and now it is the only qualification event left. Can she make it?
Harmilan Bains has been long touted as one of the upcoming starts of Indian athletics. Dubbed as 'The Queen', the 23-year-old has been clocking some very impressive timings in her pet event - the 1500m run, in the recent past.
Hailing from the state of Punjab, Harmilan was born to a family of runners. While her father has won several international medals, her mother Madhuri Singh has an Asian Games silver medal against her name in the 1500m run representing India. Having started her athletics career running amongst the boys, Harmilan rose through the ranks very quickly and has established herself as one of the most premier runners in the country.
In a conversation with The Bridge back in January this year, Harmilan had talked in length about her dream to qualify for the Olympics – something which her mother could not achieve during the course of her career.
"I want to qualify for the Olympics. Probably just two more tournaments – the Federation Cup and the Inter-State Meet, and I am sure that I will qualify for the Olympics through the Inter-State Meet," Harmilan had said then.
Though she had calculated that she would get only two tournaments to force her way into the Indian Tokyo Olympics contingent, she got three. While two of these three events have already been conducted, and she registered her personal best both the times, she is yet to break the Olympic qualification standard and qualify for the Games.
While she clocked a personal best 4:08.70 during the Federation Cup in March 2021, she bettered it to 4:08.27 in the recently concluded Indian Grand Prix (IGP) 4.
The qualification standard for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is set at 4:04.20 – more than 4 seconds less than her personal best. And Harmilan has just one event left; the one she was sure about, i.e. the Inter-State National Athletics Championship, which will be held on 25th June 2021.
While improving her timing by more than four seconds in just over three days looks very difficult, it is certainly not impossible. Harmilan, in fact, had seemed to be in course to break the qualification standard during her run in the IGP 4 yesterday. It did seem at some point during her run that India might have yet another Olympic qualification and a National Record on the evening, but it was not to be.
On the other hand, Harmilan is nowhere close in the Road to Tokyo rankings as well. The only way she can qualify for the Olympics, at the moment, is by surpassing the qualification standard.
While it is certainly tough, Harmilan was confident. She was optimistic that she would make it through to Tokyo during the Inter-State Games; and the time has arrived.
It is now or never for Harmilan Bains, and all we can do is hope that she runs her best when she takes the track day after tomorrow in Patiala.