Kavita Raut, the 30-year-old long-distance runner, became the fourth Indian women to have qualified for Rio Games women’s marathon. She qualified after winning gold in the women’s marathon event at the 12th South Asian Games.
Kavita finished the race in 2 hours 38 minutes and 38 seconds. The Rio Games women’s marathon qualification standard is 2:42:00. O P Jaisha, Lalita Babbar and Sudha Singh have already qualified.
Kavita is the only athlete to have qualified for the Olympics from the 12th South Asian Games. Here are six things to know about her:
1. Born in Sawarpada, a village in Nashik, Kavita is employed with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).
2. She won the bronze medal in 10,000 metres race at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, on October 8, 2010, with a timing of 33:05.28.
This was the first individual track medal by an Indian woman athlete at the Commonwealth Games.
3. She won the silver medal in 10,000 metres race at the 2010 Asian Games.
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4. In 2011, she set up an academy in Nashik to train upcoming athletes.
“My academy — Ekalavya Athletics and Sports Institute — identifies young athletes and provides them training and we also fund their education,” she said.
Having grown up in a place that did not offer many opportunities to athletes, she wanted to help others like her.
5. She was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2012.
This was after 30 years that any athlete from Maharashtra was receiving this award.
“My family comes from a small village and did not know what athletics was all about. Yet they allowed me to pursue this career where girls are required to sport shorts and tee-shirts,” she told The Times of India.
6. In 2013, she married Mahesh Tungar, who is a mechanical engineer at Maharashtra Power Generation Company in Nashik.
He supports Kavita to move forward in her career. “We are from a very orthodox family. I am able to continue (with my sport) because of my husband’s support. I was off to a national camp just 10 days after our marriage,” she had told Mid Day.