Amid all the star performers from India at the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships 2017 in Bhubaneswar, one young athlete from Kerala left everyone inspired with her outstanding performance.
As the stopwatch hit 4 minutes & 17.92 seconds, 22-year-old PU Chitra struck gold for the women’s 1,500m track event on Friday.
Not letting even the rain stop her from hitting the finishing line, the young woman from the tiny village of Mundur in Palakkad district surpassed all of her own previous records on track, adding another gold to the haul of medals by Indian athletes.
One among four children of daily wage earning parents, Chitra was ecstatic about her performance.
“Of course, I did not expect gold. My personal time before this was around 4 minutes 24 seconds, which I did last year. This time I won the Federation Cup gold to make it to the national squad. Before entering the track, all I wanted was a medal as usual,” she told TOI.
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Earning the tag, ‘Queen of Asia in the mile’ with her striking performance, the college student has sealed the deal of heading straight into the World Championships.
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She attributed her stupendous success to her coach Sijin NS, who has been training her for almost a decade. Sijin, who is the physical education teacher at Chitra’s alma mater Mundur Higher Secondary School, is elated over his mentee’s feat in Bhubaneswar.
“For villagers like us, sky is the limit. I’m proud of Chitra’s performance and I’m more than glad that a physical education teacher like me could mould an athlete from a village with limited facilities to the world stage,” the proud mentor said.
After her achievement at the Asian championships, Chitra will now be the third woman athlete from Kerala after OP Jaisha and Preeja Sreedharan, to represent India in 1,500m at the World Championships that will be held in London.