Star swimmer Richa eyes Olympic quota place

Tapan Mohanta

Ranchi, Feb 19 (PTI) Having pocketed 11 gold medals toequal Nisha Millet''s record way back in 1999, swimmer RichaMishra is aiming for more -- maybe to compete in athletics.

"She would come second or third places in Delhihalf-marathon. So sometime I suggest her why don''t you competein athletics as well," Richa''s sister Charu said in a lightervein as Richa was surrounded by autograph hunters.

The 34th National Games is memorable for Richa for morethan one occasion.

Having picked the Best Swimmer Award after picking 16medals (11 gold, four silver and one bronze) from 17competitions, the 27-year-old Delhi swimmer in a way erasedher bitter memory of the past when she was mired in the dopingcontroversy ahead of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

"I''m really happy for my performance. I could not haveasked for more. I broke my personal best of eight individualGames gold medals (in Guwahati 2007)," Richa told PTI as shedrew all the attention at the packed Veer Budhu Bhagat AquaticStadium in Mega Sports Complex.

Displaying her bagful of 16 medals, Richa thanked for thesupport and said, "Sir, it''s all yours. It''s because of yoursupport I could win all these.

Asked about the doping controversy, Richa said, "That''sall past. Life is about moving on. I''ve forgotten whathappened and the Games performance has really boosted mymorale."

Richa now eyes to earn a quota place for the London 2012Olympics.

"The season has started really on a good note, it''s timeto look ahead. We have World Championships coming up in Julywhere India can earn Olympic quota places. I hope to bring thebest of me there," Richa said.

Richa might have missed out to break Nisha Millet''srecord, but she said she was not disappointed.

"Her record was never in my mind, it was not my target. Iwas just looking for more. I am happy with the silver medal inthe sprint event," Richa said.

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