Halfway through the race, India’s Harmilan Bains was stuck in a crowd in the sixth position, jostling to get out of it and make a dash for the finish line.
The 800m race in the Asian Games is very important for her. It was at this distance that her mother Madhuri Singh won a silver medal in the 2002 edition in Busan.
On Wednesday, Harmilan summoned every ounce of strength in her legs to surge past a bunch of runners to claim the silver medal in the Women’s 800m race in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou.
Harmilan finished the race in 2:03.75 behind gold medallist Tharushi Mudiyanselage Dissanayaka, who won the race in 2:03.20. China’s Wang Chunyu took the bronze medal, overtaking her Rao Xinyu a few steps before the finish line for a season’s best timing of 2:03.90.
The focus was on Harmilan Bains as she won her second silver medal, after claiming silver in the 1500m race two days back.
“I don’t know how I ran the race today, my legs were so heavy, looked like they had no power. After winning a silver medal in the 1500m, and participating in the heats for 800 — pace in the last 800 of the 1500m race was faster than this,” said Harmilan after the race.
“Midway through the race, I was stuck in the middle of a group, looking for an opportunity to break free. My first thought was to be in bronze position with 300m to go, But then I didn’t know what happened as so many runners made a dash towards the finish line,” said Harmilan. She was sure of one thing, she had finished clear second.
The Indian 25-year-old from Mahilpur town in the Hoshiyarpur district of Punjab had come to Hangzhou to go one up on her mother by winning the gold medal in the Asian Games.
Though Harmilan fell short of her target, she still has bragging rights over her mother as she now has two silver medals at the Asian Games.
For Harmilan, who was goaded by her mother to take up athletics, the next target is to not only win a gold medal in the next Asian Games but also to qualify and participate in the Olympic Games.
She has the genes to do so as her father Amandeep Bains was also a middle-distance runner who represented India in international competitions.