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Athletics

Defeating Swapna Barman has further lifted my motivation: Abha Khatua

Abha Khatua dreams of getting a job and lifting her family members out from dire financial distress.

Defeating Swapna Barman has further lifted my motivation: Abha Khatua
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By

The Bridge Desk

Published: 6 Sep 2019 8:20 AM GMT

Abha Khatua's life seems to have changed after 10 August 2019, after she defeated Swapna Burman in javelin throe to earn the gold medal in the 69th West Bengal State Athletics Championship. Besides, she also won a gold medal in shot-put, throwing 15.85 metres to break a 17-year-old record.

After consistently sweating it out in practice, Abha took part in all the events starting from middle-distance running to heptathlon, but she has set her focus on shot-put exclusively for the last six months. Speaking to The Bridge on at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) complex in Kolkata, Abha said, “I threw javelin mainly because it was the state athletics meet. Otherwise, I have given my full concentration on shot-put.”

Abha Khatua has set her focus exclusively on shot-put
Abha Khatua has set her focus exclusively on shot-put

Abha has been receiving congratulatory messages and phone calls after her triumph over Swapna. She feels that her social status in the athletics fraternity has raised, although she remembers that after the victory, Swapna avoided in posing for a photograph with her despite repeated requests from the photographers. She said:

I did not mind that Swapna avoided in posing for a photograph with me that day. She is the Asian Games gold medalist. Naturally, she could feel her ego might have been damaged after losing to me. But this victory has given me inspiration to progress. I am now more charged mentally.

Abha, after a lot of hardship in her journey so far, is going to face another crucial hurdle, which is to secure a job. If things go the right way, she will join Customs from the next month. Abha asserted:

I badly need a job. I have got nothing so far, which could help me improve my performance. The country’s other shot-putters who take part in international and national tournaments wear shoes that cost upto Rs 15,000. I do not have something of that sort, but I need it. Otherwise, you cannot pull off international-standard performances. The shoes which I wear and perform at the national level tournaments cost only Rs 600! A secured job will help me buy high-standard running shoes. I also cannot afford nutritious food except when I am at the national preparatory camp in Patiala. I will also be able to afford nutritious food once I get the job.

Abha Khatua with P.T. Usha
Abha Khatua with P.T. Usha

The 24-year-old athlete dreams of lifting her family members out from dire financial distress which has still been a key obstruction. Abha explained, “My father still spends the whole year in farming in others' land. My elder brother and mother also help my father. In my childhood, I used to help them, as well. But now, if my job is ensured, then I will contribute to my family so that my parents do not have to go through the rigorous workload in farming.”

Abha’s aim is to throw at least more than 17 metres by this year. She hopes to get into the Indian team if she can throw the distance. Ava seemed positive when she said, “I will surely cover the distance of 17 meters by this year. I have been dreaming of donning India shirts since I joined athletics in my childhood.”

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