"It was my fault" — Harmilan Bains on failing to qualify for Tokyo Olympics
In a conversation with The Bridge, Harmilan Bains opened up about her failure to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and future plans.
The qualification period for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics ended recently, and India's premier middle-distance runner Harmilan Bains failed to book her ticket to the city of Tokyo.
Just 23-year-old, Harmilan was expected to make the cut to the Olympics in women's 1500m run, especially after she clocked an impressive 4:08.27 during the Indian Grand Prix (IGP) 4 on 21st June 2021. There were times during this run wherein it felt as if Harmilan would make surpass the Olympic qualification standard, which was set at 4:04.20 but fizzled out towards the end.
"It was my fault," these were the first words from Harmilan when asked about her failure to qualify for the Tokyo Games.
"I was hopeful that I would qualify, but it was my fault; I should have qualified during the IGP itself. But, I made some mistakes. I was in good form then but did not ask anyone to tell me my timing per lap. I could not hear anything my coach, Suresh Saini, was saying from the other side as there was a lot of noise around. Neither did I have anyone at the100m mark to inform me my timing, which in turn came to bite me back," Harmilan said to The Bridge.
The Queen also suggested that deciding to run the 800m at the Inter-State Championships was a bad decision in hindsight, as she could not recover completely after the 800m run.
"Running the 800m at Inter-State was my coach's decision because I was fit and running well, but I feel it was a misjudgment. I ran the 800m pretty well but could not recover for the 1500m because of the heat. The 1500m was supposed to happen the very next day after 800m, but we requested the federation to push it a day behind so that we could recover, but it did not matter," she lamented.
The covid-19 pandemic meant that the Indian athletes could not compete in quite a few qualifying events. This, according to Harmilan, proved to be fatal not only for her but also for many other Indian athletes.
"We got very few tournaments to compete in. We had tournaments in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan cancelled. If those were not cancelled and had I competed there, I would have definitely made qualified by earning some points through the World Rankings quota. A lot of athletes who clock around the same timing as me have qualified because they had the opportunity to compete in more tournaments," Harmilan explained.
The Punjab girl expressed her desire to train in foreign countries to improve her timings. The youngster also stressed on the fact that she needs to work on her pace maintenance if she is to take her game to the next level.
"If possible, I would love to go and train in Sofia or Cuba during the mid-season. My pace maintenance and pace judgment are very bad as of now. This will cause me a lot of issues in future and can only be improved if I keep competing in tournaments. Hopefully, AFI and SAI will make sure that I will be able to compete in more tournaments in coming times," she signed off.