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Running in her DNA: Harmilan Bains' remarkable Asian Games victory

Born to an Asian Games silver medallist, Harmilan Bains emulated her mother's 2002 feat by winning an Asiad silver in Hangzhou on Sunday.

Running in her DNA: Harmilan Bains remarkable Asian Games victory

Harmilan Bains won two silver medals in 800m  and 1500m at the Asian Games 2023. (source: AFI)


Pritish Raj

Updated: 2 Oct 2023 3:58 AM GMT

Winning one Asian Games medal is a big feat and is considered a milestone for family and friends; but when you are Harmilan Bains, it is different. Harmilan won a 1500m silver medal on Sunday night in Hangzhou to emulate a family feat.

As often as she has quipped about how she had her first run in her mother's womb, Harmilan has proved the fact time and again that she was born to run, this time with an Asian Games medal.

For those wondering, her mother Madhuri Saxena had to run 1500m to save her job at the Punjab Electricity Board when she was three months pregnant. That story has now become a legend in Punjab's Hoshiarpur. But Madhuri was no stranger to running.

Six months later, Madhuri gave birth to Harmilan on July 23, 1998. When Harmilan was four, her mother returned home with a silver medal from the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

On Tuesday, Harmilan will run the same event in an attempt to win her second medal at this year's Asiad.

'Mom, it's still on'

When she was asked what she had to say to her mother after the race, Harmilan quipped, "Mom, it is still on!"

But before she bids for the second medal, Harmilan has a pain to heal.

"I will give my 100% and treat this soreness first with some massage after talking to physio," she added further, talking about her upcoming 800m event.

The current national record holder, Harmilan clocked 4:12.74 seconds to win the 1500m silver medal at the Asian Games. Talking about her race, Harmilan said, "I was a little disappointed. I wish I could have overtaken the third girl earlier as I still had energy left. The first lap was slow and it was the fastest in the last lap. It was tough but I did it eventually."

From injuries to Asiad glory

Harmilan had to miss the entire 2022 season due to a recurring knee injury that has been troubling her since 2017. Harmilan missed two marquee events - the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the World Championships in Oregon in 2022 - due to her injury.

"I had surgery in 2022, and I was off the track for a long time. I missed the World Championships as the invitation came on the day when I went to consult the surgeon," said Harmilan.

"From the very beginning of 2022, I had pain and that was why I went for the surgery," she explained.

After recovery, Harmilan trained in Europe to regain her fitness and prepare for the Asian Games.

"My sponsors helped me a lot, and it allowed to me prepare for the Asian Games without any doubt in my head," said Harmilan.

"This medal is dedicated to everyone who has supported me from getting out of bed to becoming the Asian Games silver medallist," Harmilan signed off.

The 25-year-old athlete from Punjab will again be in action on October 3 in the women's 800m event.

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