Indian athletics is on the rise with quite a few extremely talented youngsters making their presence felt at the international arena over the past few years.
Here we take a look at five such young Indian athletes, who could take the world by storm.
1) Shaili Singh
Primary Event: Long Jump (Personal Best 6.76m)
Shaili Singh was born on 7 January 2004 in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh India. She is an Indian athlete who competes in long jump events. She holds the national record for the long jump in the Under-16, Under-18, and Under-20 categories.
She was raised by her mother Vinita Singh, who is a single parent to three children. Vinita Singh is a small-time entrepreneur by profession.
Shaili moved to Bangalore at the age of 14 to train at the Anju Bobby George Sports Foundation. Currently, she is trained by veteran Indian long jumper Anju Bobby George and her husband Robert Bobby George.
1. National Inter State Senior Athletics Championships Patiala 2021 Gold
2. World Athletics Under 20 Championship Nairobi 2021 Silver
3. National Open Athletics Championships Bengaluru 2022 Gold
4. Seiko Golden Grand Prix Yokohama 2023 Bronze
2) Rupal Chaudhary
Primary Event: 400m (Personal Best 51.85)
Secondary Events: 400m Hurdles, 400m Relay, 400m Mixed Relay
Rupal Chaudhary was born on December 23, 2004 in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. She is an Indian sprinter who specializes in the 400-meter dash. Her father Omvir Singh is a farmer, mother Mamta Singh is a housewife.
Initially, she expressed her urges to be an athlete to her father. And he promised to take her to the Kailash Prakash Stadium (Meerut). But since he stadium was far from their home, keeping the promise was so difficult for her father.
Rupal though didn’t lose hope and even went on a hunger strike for three days, ultimately forcing her father to accept her demand. She created history by becoming the first Indian athlete to win two medals at the World U20 Athletics Championship 2022 in Cali, Colombia.
She trains with coach Vishal Saxena. In the absence of adequate training facilities in Meerut, Saxena takes Rupal to New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Stadium for training at least thrice a week.
1. National Inter State Senior Athletics Championships Chennai 2022 Silver (400m)
2. World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 2022 Bronze (400m)
3. World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 2022 Silver (400m Mixed Relay)
3) Priya Mohan
Primary Event: 400m (Personal Best 52.37)
Secondary Events: 400m Relay, 400m Medley Relay, 400m Mixed Relay
Priya Habbathannahalli Mohan was born on 15 March 2003 in Habbathanahalli village of Tumakuru district, Karnataka. She is an Indian sprinter who specializes in the 400 meters and is one of the fastest quarter-milers in the country.
Priya’s father, HA Mohan, is a district judge in Belagavi, while her mother, Chandrakala, is a homemaker. She won the 400m senior National Championships in 2021 with a time of 53.29 seconds.
The 20-year-old sprinter has swiftly climbed the ranks in the last four years, beating some of the most accomplished athletes in India and winning medals at the World Athletics U20 Championships.
1. Asian Athletics U18 Championships Hongkong 2019 Gold (Medley Relay)
2. World Athletics U20 Championships Nairobi 2021 Bronze (400m Mixed Relay)
3. World Athletics U20 Championships Nairobi 2021 4th (400m)
4. World Athletics U20 Championships Nairobi 2021 4th (400m Relay)
5. National Inter State Senior Athletics Championships, Patiala 2021 Gold (400m)
6. Swiss Club Championships Genève 2022 Gold (400m)
7. World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 2022 Silver (400m Mixed Relay)
4) Rezoana Mallick Heena
Primary Events: 200m (Personal Best 24.23) and 400m (Personal Best 52.98)
Secondary Events: 400m Relay, 400m Mixed Relay
Rezoana Mallick Heena was born on 20 March 2007 in Nadia, West Bengal, she won the 400m gold at the Asian Youth Championships (U18) in Tashkent, Uzbekistan but also broke the U-18 national record with a blistering time of 52.98s.
She also rewrote the Championship record of 53.02s set by Salwa Eid Naser who has recorded the third-fastest 400m run in history. She trains under coach Arun Ajay in Bengaluru who found her through Instagram videos and invited her to Bengaluru from Kolkata.
1. Asian U18 Athletics Championships, Tashkent 2023 Silver (200m)
2. Asian U18 Athletics Championships, Tashkent 2023 Gold (400m)
3. Asian U18 Athletics Championships, Tashkent 2023 Gold (Medley Relay)
4. Asian U20 Athletics Championships Yecheon 2023 Gold (400m)
5. Asian U20 Athletics Championships, Yecheon 2023 Gold (400m Relay)
6. Asian U20 Athletics Championships Yecheon 2023 Bronze (400m Mixed Relay)
5) Selva Prabhu Thirumaran
Primary Event Triple Jump (Personal Best 16.78m)
Selva Prabhu Thirumaran was born on 28 December 2004 in Kodimangalam village in Madurai district, Tamil Nadu. He specializes in the triple jump event.
His father, Thirumaran (52), was a farmer. His father discovered Prabhu’s passion for athletics early. Initially, Prabhu started with a long jump at the age of 10.
During his school, he concentrated on sports apart from studying. Further recalling, Thirumaran says despite toiling under the sun on the paddy field, he ensured to take his son Prabhu to practice in Madurai Race Course stadium at 5 am, for seven years.
His hard work created the path from long jump to triple jump for his son after he joined Class 11. Thirumaran while thanking the state government for accommodating Prabhu at SDAT Hostel, also adds that he sold off three cents of land to meet his son’s expenses on flight travel and others.
He won a silver medal in the World Athletics U20 Championships 2022 with a jump of 16.15m in Colombia. He is coached by Cuban Yoandris Betanzos at JSW’s Inspire Institute of Sport in Ballari, Karnataka.
1. World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 2022 Silver
2. VI Prueba de Confrontación La Habana 2023 Silver
3. Venizelia - Chania International Meeting Chania 2023 Gold