Preparing to make her debut at the Asian Games, heptathlete Purnima Hembram must be getting the feeling that her moment to shine at the big stage has come.Giving her personal best of 5898 points at the national inter-state athletics championship in June, Purnima outperformed her national teammate and Asian champion Swapna Barman, who mustered 5725 points.However, the performance didn’t really please the 25-year-old athlete as Purnima showed disappointment at the 50 points she dropped during the meet.”I might have achieved my best points at the inter-state but I wasn’t totally happy with my performance. I made some mistakes that I could have avoided. I dropped 30 points in Long Jump and another 20 points in the 800m (race),” Purnima told Mail Today from her national camp in Patiala.She further confidently claimed that her medal at the Asian Games is within her cusp, but the colour of the laurel depends on her ability to limit the nagging errors in the seven events she will participate in – namely 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200m race, long jump, javelin throw and 800m race.”Medal is coming with me for sure. I feel strong about my preparations with Long Jump, shot put, 800m and hurdles but I aim for perfection as even a small mistake in the technical events could cost me big. I think I can cross 6000-point mark if I follow what I have been in the practice,” the Odisha girl said.Heptathlon demands a lot out of athletes as they get 30 to 45 minutes break between each event. However, Purnima said the multi-sport event never took a toll on her as “playing” is all that she ever did.advertisementIn fact, athletics isn’t her first love. Purnima, like many of her friends, grew up playing football until her talent was spotted by Sports Authority of India.”I had no idea what is athletics when I was small. Football was all I knew. One day, SAI officials from Cuttack came for trials in my village (in Mayurbhunj, Odisha), and they made me do everything from running to jumping. It didn’t make any sense to me back then. In fact, I learnt about heptathlon during my first nationals in 2009,” she grinned.There has been no turning back for the athlete ever since and has notched up plenty accolades at the national level and the international medal. It included bronze at the Asian athletics championship followed by a gold in Pentathlon at the Asian indoor games in – both in 2017.Her coach Sanjay Garnik, who has been training her in Patiala for seven years now, praised the progress his protege made in last few years and is as confident as Purnima of a medal.”She is only getting better. She won two international medals last year and gave her best performance during the Asian Games qualification (inter-state championship). There is stiff competition from Uzbekistan athlete (Ekaterina Voronina) and a few others from China and Japan, but I am sure she will bring a medal,” Garnik said.Purnima won’t be the only Indian in medal pursuit in the heptathlon as Barman too will be aiming for a medal after finishing fifth at the last edition. Purnima said there is healthy competition between the two and said don’t be surprised if heptathlon brings two medals for the nation.