Star Olympics coach bets on Indian hurdles champ

Sally Pearson’s coach Sharon Hannan believes national record holder Siddhanth Thingalaya ‘not too behind’ the best

Written by Shivani Naik | Mumbai | Published: August 26, 2012 2:27:07 am

Having trained Sally Pearson to an Olympic gold in the 100 m hurdles at London,Australian coach Sharon Hannan is excited about shepherding a rank unknown now — a 21-year-old Indian 110 m hurdler,Siddhanth Thingalaya.

The silver-haired woman with a short crop coaches Thingalaya,who couldn’t qualify for the Olympics after pulling a hamstring at a meet in Belgium.

Having dropped by to catch the men’s 110 m hurdles heats at the Games,Hannan says she was thrilled when she saw the timings,as well as a little sad. “I teared up a little when I saw the heats timings. Sid could’ve fitted right in there,” said the Aussie.

Thingalaya currently holds the national record in 110 m hurdles at 13.65 sec. Aries Merritt took the gold in the event at the Games clocking 12.92 sec.

A resident of Mumbai,he was first spotted at a community meet when he was in Class VI. He trained at the Kandivali tracks and as he grew into a bespectacled 6’3” youth,he went from strength to strength. Soon after breaking the national record in 2010,the Mithibhai college student had shifted base to Australia.

He couldn’t be in better hands than Hannan. The coach is known for some of the most scientific training routines.

In preparing Pearson for London,Hannan put her through thrice-a-week sessions of rain training,keeping in mind the host city’s sudden showers.

“Anyone can make it big at the Olympics,” Hannan said. “I refuse to believe that India’s modest history will forever stop anyone from winning. 2016 will be different,and Sid will be doing some great things… He is not too behind.”

Her advice to Pearson who won by two-hundredths of a second was: “It’s time to shine.” Thingalaya would be waiting to hear the same.

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