July 5, 2017

Bhubaneswar, July 5: Odisha sprinter Dutee Chand’s emotional journey from a home of weavers in Gopalpur to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero is by now quite well documented. There are some others Indians who have beaten adversity through athletics and are breaking through to the senior ranks now.

Take for example, Maharashtra’s Archana Adhav. The 21-year-old lost her father many years ago and her mother Taibai Ramdar Adhav had to do odd jobs to groom her three daughters for life and its challenges. Drawn by an urge to run, Archana Adhav joined the Maharashtra government’s Krida Prabodhini in Balewadi in Pune in 2009.
Archana Adhav made her her mother, who did odd jobs to make ends meet, proud by winning the 800m bronze medal at the Asian Junior Athletics Championship in Taipei in 2014. From the 2:09.11 then, she improved her time over two laps to 2:05.66 when she won the Federation Cup title last month.

The 20-year-old Murli Kumar Gavit is another remarkable story of a lad from the back of beyond rising to be among the challengers in Asia. Hailing from Kumarbandh village in the National’s most economically distressed district of Dang in Gujarat, this son of a farmer is already an inspiration to the people of the region.

Discovered at Khel Mahakumb in Gujarat four years ago, he won 5000m bronze medal in the Asian Junior Athletics Championship in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam in June last year. He clocked 14:49.41 back then and has improved to 14:05.04 in the Federation Cup in Patiala last month when he finished second to Asian Championship medallist G Lakshmanan.

Sanjivani Jadhav, who will turn 21 a few after AAC 2017, hails from a family of wrestlers in the drought-prone Nashik village in Maharashtra. Inspired by Kavita Rout’s feat of becoming the first Indian woman to win a Commonwealth Games track event (10,000m) in Delhi in 2010, she made a beeline to learn the distance running ropes with coach Vijender Singh.

Within two years, she emerged as a multiple medallist in the Asian Schools Track and Field Championship in Kuantan (Malaysia) in 2013 besides winning silver at the World Schol Games Olympiad in Brazil. She won a 3000m bronze medal in the Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Taupei in 2014.
(Courtesy: Asian Athletics Championships)

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