Practising In Sugarcane Field Helped Bag Gold Medals At Asian Games — Meerut Girls Make India Proud
Javelin thrower Annu Rani and athlete Parul Chaudhary have won gold medals at the ongoing Asian Games in China’s Hangzhou. The two sport stars belong to the rural pockets of Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut and began their athletic journey by practising in the sugarcane fields in their respective villages. Details here.
गाँव कनेक्शन 5 Oct 2023 9:28 AM GMT
Two days back, on October 3, 31-year-old Annu Rani bagged a gold medal in javelin throw at the ongoing 19th Asian Games in China’s Hangzhou. On the same day, Parul Chaudhary, aged 28, won another gold medal for India in the 5,000 metres race.
Apart from winning gold medals on the same date in the Asian games, these two athletes have another aspect in common — both grew up in Meerut's rural areas in Uttar Pradesh.
Both Rani and Chaudhary began their athletic journey by practising in the sugarcane fields which are abundantly found in the sugarcane cultivating belt in western Uttar Pradesh.
Rani hails from Bahadurpur village which is situated at a distance of about 50 kilometres from Meerut city. It was initially difficult for her to convince her father to pursue a career in sports as her elder brother was already an aspiring athlete.
Amarpal Singh, Rani’s father, told the press that it was because he was a humble farmer and it was difficult for him to let another child become an athlete.
“I have two sons and three daughters. My elder son Upendra was already trying his luck at sports when Annu also developed an interest in bhaala phek [Javelin Throw]. It was Upendra who sensed that his sister had a natural talent for the sport. But sending my daughter to far flung cities to compete and practise was a remote prospect,” the father said.
“I wondered if I could afford her training and nutritional requirements. It was difficult for me to overcome these challenges. Upendra, her brother, used to secretly train his sister Annu in my sugarcane fields early in the morning. That is how it all started. But I am very happy that my bitiya [daughter] has made this country proud,” he added.
Rani has become the first Indian woman athlete to win a gold medal at the Asian Games.
Meanwhile, about 25 kilometres away from Rani’s village, Parul Chaudhary was also chartering her own course on the trails along the sugarcane fields.
The 28-year-old began her athletic journey by winning an 800 metres race at a competition in her school in 2011.
It was that victory which got her father thinking about the athletic potential in his child. “My father insisted that I should go on morning runs in the fields. Little did I realise that my father’s insistence would pave the way for me to win this gold medal,” Chaudhary was quoted.
In 2015, Chaudhary got a job in Western Railway in Mumbai. Chaudhary used to work as a ticket examiner at Grant Road railway station. She moved into the city of dreams along with her mother who came to help her settle.
“I had heard that if you do well in sports, you could get a good job. That was my main aim. Frankly, my plan was to get the job and then quit the sport. I never had any major ambitions but I was motivated by my friends and mentors to continue playing. In 2016, I resumed practising ,” Parul said.