Delhi’s KM Chanda Redeems Asian Games Disappointment with 800m Gold at National Games
KM Chanda’s remarkable comeback: From Asian Games disappointment to 800m gold at the National Games, her journey inspires.
Delhi’s middle-distance runner, KM Chanda, faced deep disappointment after missing out on a medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games. She went into a self-imposed hibernation and didn’t even discuss the China ordeal with her coach.
The 22-year-old athlete decided to participate in the 37th National Games to break free from her slump and move past her Hangzhou Asian Games letdown. She not only succeeded in that but also secured a silver medal in the 1500m event and clinched the 800m gold with a remarkable time of 2:01.74s on Thursday night.
Chanda stated, “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.”
She added, “I’m content with my performance. I was disappointed to miss the 1500m gold, but I had confidence in the 800m race, and it reflected in my performance.”
Nonetheless, the disappointment of the Hangzhou Asian Games still lingers for Chanda. She was considered a strong contender for a medal in the women’s 800m event there. Her personal and season best stood at 2:01.58 seconds, the fastest time by an Indian female runner that year. However, things didn’t go as planned and took a toll on her mentally.
She locked herself in her room for over two weeks, refusing to talk to anyone about her Asian Games experience.
Reflecting on her time at the Hangzhou Asian Games, Chanda revealed that she struggled to adapt to the rough tactics commonly seen in middle-distance races, ultimately falling short of a medal.
“Despite being well-prepared and in peak fitness, I couldn’t secure a medal. It was shocking and still hurts me deeply,” Chanda said.
In middle-distance races, physical encounters, including jostling for the inner lane, are not uncommon. Chanda disclosed that she was elbowed twice during the opening lap of the 800m final but refrained from retaliating to avoid disqualification.
“I didn’t engage in pushing back as I feared the consequences of disqualification,” she said, emphasizing that disqualification would have been an even worse outcome.
To prevent getting cornered, Chanda ran a wider path. However, as the competition intensified towards the finish line, she couldn’t respond effectively. “I lost my focus during the race. My body went numb, and I couldn’t execute the surge at the right moment,” Chanda explained. She trains at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) complex in Bengaluru with the core group under Kalyan Chaudhari.
Winning a medal at the National Games has revitalized Chanda’s confidence, and she now intends to take a brief break before planning her training for the upcoming season.
“I’ll take a week off to relax and then discuss my plans with my coach for the next year,” she concluded.