Introducing an incredible 23-year-old with an amazing talent. She stands as the only female athlete in India who consistently completes sprints in under 13 seconds, achieving this remarkable accomplishment six times in this very year. In the preliminary races held in Bangkok, she stunned everyone by clocking an unbelievable time of 12.98 seconds.

Source: Google Photos

In a rainy and wet race, Jyothi Yarraji, a promising Indian track and field athlete, made history by winning India’s first-ever gold medal in the women’s 100-meter hurdles at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bangkok.

Despite her victory, Jyothi appeared disappointed at the finish line. Her coach, James Hillier, attributed her disappointment to the timing of her race, clocking in at 13.09 seconds. Although she clinched the top position, she didn’t quite reach the lofty goals she had established for herself.

Jyothi, a 23-year-old recognized for her exceptional abilities, stands out as the sole Indian woman to consistently complete a sprint in under 13 seconds. She accomplished this remarkable achievement six times in this year alone.

Thinking back on her performance, Jyothi remarked, “I had prepared really well and was feeling sure that it would be my day. But sadly, the rain brought some misfortune. I lost my footing a bit after the seventh hurdle, which messed up my rhythm and kept me from achieving a great time. I had really wanted to set a new personal record today. Still, I’m glad about winning a medal, and I take pride in how consistent I’ve been.”

Jyothi’s journey has been quite tough, especially in the beginning when her mom worked as a hospital cleaner and her dad was a security guard. During those times, her junior coach N Ramesh came through for her financially by giving her money for bus fare from her home in Visakhapatnam to the sports hostel in Hyderabad. Another athlete, Karnatapu Sowjanya, who worked as a ticket collector on a local route, also lent Jyothi a hand financially.

Sowjanya explained, “Since Lingampally was near the stadium where she trained, I used to leave money with a coworker at the ticket counter. Jyothi would come get it after her training. When I started my own athletic journey, older athletes pooled money to buy me spikes, so I wanted to pay it forward. I’m really happy to have supported the right person.” Sowjanya was part of the 4x400m Asian Indoor Championship gold-winning team in 2010.

Jyothi’s current situation is far better than the challenges she faced early on. Now she’s an athlete being helped by the Target Olympic Podium Scheme and the Reliance Foundation.

As the top athlete during the Asian season, Jyothi was expected to win the title in Bangkok. But the tough weather conditions made it hard for all the hurdlers. Jyothi encountered a setback near the end of the race at Supachalasai Stadium. She lost her balance while clearing the seventh hurdle and stumbled.

Coach Hillier said, “Even though it wasn’t a flawless race, the most important thing is that she clinched the victory. She almost slipped at the 7th hurdle, but that’s understandable. That’s why she didn’t seem very happy at the finish line. She could’ve easily finished 4 to 5 meters ahead of her competitors.”

In October, Jyothi etched her name in history as the first Indian woman to complete the 100m hurdles in under 13 seconds. It was an incredible accomplishment, something that was once thought to be nearly undoable.

Hillier believed that the rain in Bangkok turned out to be a blessing for Jyothi. He ensured that training was never halted due to weather conditions. When sprinter Amalan Borgohain shattered the 200m record in a rainy Kozhikode session last April, he told Hiller, “Rain training helped me break it.”

“I grew up in New South Wales, where it rains very often. That’s why I was surprised to see people stopping their practice here when it rains. The first time I saw this happening, I told the athletes to keep training. I stood there, getting wet in the rain, setting an example.

Coach Hillier emphasized how important it is for us to train and be prepared for any situation. That’s why Jyothi achieved a big victory today.”

Jyothi’s coach Ramesh, when he discovered her talent, felt really proud. He got her admitted to the Sports Authority of India Hostel in 2016. Even though Jyothi didn’t initially seem like she could become a top sprinter, Ramesh supported her.

“She was tall and quickly grasped concepts. She also had a strong fighting spirit and a special ability to stay calm even when things were tough. That’s why I stood by her. In fact, I was the one who suggested she try obstacle competitions,” revealed Ramesh, who is now the head coach of India’s junior national team.”

India concludes Day 2 of Asian Championships with Jyothi’s, three gold, two bronze medals. Ajay Kumar Saroj shines in men’s 1500m with strong determination. Abdulla Aboobacker clinched gold in triple jump, leaping an impressive 16.92m after struggling with inconsistency beforehand. Tejaswin Shankar, who has previously won medals in the Commonwealth Games for high jump, achieved a bronze medal in his first-ever international decathlon competition. Aishwarya Mishra also earned a bronze medal in the 400m women’s race.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *