How Jyothi Yarraji defied belief to win 2 Asian medals
When Jyothi Yarraji's coach suggested that she try to win a 200m medal at the Asian Athletics Championship along with the hurdles medal, nobody believed it could be possible.
Jyothi Yarraji won two medals - 100m hurdles and 200m - at the 2023 Asian Athletics Championship which ended on Sunday, establishing herself as a modern Asian great in short distances and confounding belief for everyone except her coach James Hillier.
Jyothi, the 23-year-old from Andhra Pradesh, added a silver medal in the 200m event to her gold from the 100m hurdles she had previously won in this edition, on the final day of action at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bangkok, Thailand on Sunday, 16th July.
She was in inspired form in the final, running her personal best of 23.13s to win silver behind Singapore’s Veronica Shanti Pereira, who won Gold in a time of 22.70s to set a new Championship record.
Jyothi said she was pleased to overcome various challenges to finish with two medals.
“When I started the 100m hurdles event, there was rain and a false start too. So I’m very happy to return with two medals. I’m glad to achieve a personal best in the 200m event inspite of being sick. I will now look to do well at the Asian Games and the World Championships. I will also speak to my coach about the areas that I can further improve upon.”
Jyothi's coach at the Reliance Foundation, James Hillier, said that nobody believed him when he suggested that Jyothi try to win the 200m medal too.
“When I first told people that Jyothi could win a medal in the 200m at the Asian Championships, they would not believe it. She has done that now. To do it with two personal bests is absolutely amazing. She woke up with a fever this morning and was vomiting, so that was an incredible effort by her, not just to compete but to also win a medal. She is a champion, because champions find a way to get a result even when the chips are down and she did that," he said.
Jyothi had earlier clocked a time of 13.09s in the final of the 100m hurdles event to finish on top in a strong field on Thursday.
Jyothi’s effort was the 1st ever gold by an Indian in the 100m hurdles event at the Continental Championships. It also secured her a berth at the World Championships.
In 22 previous editions of the tournament, the only Indians to medal in the 100m hurdles event were Anuradha Biswal (bronze in 2000) and Jayapal Hemasree (bronze in 2013).
Jyothi's gold medal in 100m hurdles:
Jyothi's silver medal in 200m: