It's not new that in India, often an athlete is forgotten in the annals of history. However, at times, their names keep on appearing in the footnotes while depicting the transition of a sport. One such forgotten name is Asha Roy from West Bengal, who like her name, had put a gleam of 'hope' in athletics.
Asha had stunned everyone with her performances in 2011, when she won gold medals in both 100m and 200m races at the National Open Athletics
Championships. Who doesn't love fairytale-like success stories where a hero emerges from all odds.
Asha's efforts were undoubtedly of heroic stature. Asha was born in Ghanashyampur, a village in the Hooghly district of West Bengal. Her father Bholanath was a vegetable seller at the Singur Railway station and her mother Bulu, a housewife. Since childhood, Asha fought every adversity to take herself to the top and became the fastest woman sprinter of her time.
Asha Roy with Dutee Chand
Asha displayed the skill that would make her one of our best athletes in the new century. Her parents encouraged her to pursue athletics since she was into running since her early days. Asha won four gold medals in the school games in 2004. In 2006 she earned second place in the 100m and long jump at the Junior Nationals. She then excelled in the state meets in the successive years. Asha always had the indomitable spirit to to achieve something big, even if it means training on an empty stomach. There were days when she would only eat one banana after a hard day's workout. Some days, I would go to school after training for hours with just a bowl of rice starch. But none could deter her from her goals.
Her career took off in the 2011 Open National Championship where she won the gold medals in both the 100m and 200m events and a silver 4X100m relay. It was moment of pride for her and her father Bholanath who insisted her to take up 200m race. Asha was given a hero's welcome to her village after courting success in 2011.
In 2013, she won the gold medal at the Indian Grand Prix 200m. In the same year, she struck success in an international event, when she won a silver medal at Asian Athletics Championships. It was her debut international event. After her podium win, it seemed she was destined for greater things.
When she was training in Bengaluru for Rio Olympics in 2015, she was diagnosed with a spinal cord problem, which made it impossible for me to train hard. With a heavy heart, Asha had to leave the camp. Her Olympics dream remained unfulfilled. With her sports background, she got a job in the Indian Railways. However, she could not make a comeback and was, therefore, remained a forgotten name in the Indian athletics fraternity.