NEW DELHI: Often there is so much focus on the fastest athlete in the men’s or boy’s sections, that the women’s or girls’ section gets overshadowed. While Delhi’s Nisar Ahmad was winning the boys 100m in 10.76s, there was also Avantika Narale of Pune grabbing the honours in Girls’ section.
Avantika from Lonkar High School, Pune, bagged gold at the first Khelo India School Games by completing the run in just 12.36 seconds. Avantika spoke highly of her coach and her supportive family and dedicated the medal to them.
A few years ago Avantika was very often seen making quick sprints in her school, and to her credit, she was always considered the fastest among her friends. But kabaddi was her first love before coming to athletics.
After seeing her speed in kabaddi, her physical training teacher, Shivaji Mehta, spotted her potential and urged her register herself in athletics.
By the time she reached class 8th, athletics became her top priority. After she shifted to train under coach Sanjay Patankar, there was a marked upturn in her performance. Her academic career, however, took the back seat.
The Pune girl, claimed the third position in the 100 metre event (12.47 seconds) in the 63rd National School Games Athletics Championship held in Bhopal last year.
SWIMMERS STRIKE BALANCE
In the swimming event, Karnataka’s Suvana C Bhaskar who won two gold and four silver in the competition, emphasised that she was able to pull off excellence in the pool despite a break in training. “I’m definitely happy to win gold. I wanted to make a statement out here and I did that with wins in the 100m and 200m backstroke,” she said. “I had taken part in the South Zone finals in Chennai just two weeks back where I got eight gold medals.”
Her team-mate Khushi Dinesh, who won 200m and 400m freestyle gold and two silver in the 4x100m relays said she was a bit rusty coming into Khelo India School Games because there was a break due to exams. “Races like these tell me that I have a long way to go. I tried to improve but had a few errors. I could have done better, nevertheless I ended up winning silver,” she said.