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Athletics

Parul Chaudhary breaks 3000m Steeplechase NR, qualifies for Olympics

Parul Chaudhary became the fourth-fastest Asian Steeplechaser in history with her record-breaking run in World Athletics C'ships.

Parul Chaudhary breaks 3000m Steeplechase NR, qualifies for Olympics
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Parul Chaudhary secured the 2024 Olympic qualification and made a new 3000m Steeplechase national record at the World Championships. (Credit: AFP)

By

Pritish Raj

Published: 28 Aug 2023 2:26 AM GMT

Asian Champion Parul Chaudhary clocked 9:15.31 in the women's 3000m Steeplechase final at World Athletics Champions to break the National record and qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics on Sunday.

The 28-year-old finished 11th in the final but recorded her new personal best and broke the seven-year-old national record set by Lalita Babbar in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

With the timing of 9:15.31, Parul breached the 2024 Olympics qualification mark of 9:23.00 and became the fourth-fastest Asian Steeplechaser in history.

Historic World Championships Campaign

3000m Steeplechase was one of the first disappointments for the Indian fans as Commonwealth Games silver medalist Avinash Sable suffered a shock exit in the first round.

But learning from his mistake and taking his advice, Parul wanted to run for her personal best and Olympic qualification. On paper, Parul was nowhere close to making it to the finals of the event as she was ranked ninth in her heat of 12 athletes.

Running beside former World Champions and Diamond League winners, Parul ran the race of her life to earn the fifth position in her heat and a berth in the final of the event.

She clocked a personal best timing of 9:24.29, shelving more than five seconds off her timing of 9:29.51 from the Los Angeles Grand Prix.

"I never thought I would make it to the final. There were only three runners of my level, everybody else was better than me," Parul had told the media after her qualification race.

As she surprised herself, everyone else was also surprised and hailed it one of the best races by an Indian athlete in recent history.

While all the eyeballs were on the Javelin final on Sunday, Parul pulled off another surprise from her bag in the final of the 3000m steeplechase with another personal best and a new national record.

On paper, Parul was ranked last among 15 participants based on timings. But the athlete from Meerut tore the paper again to finish 11th and shelve almost 10 seconds from her timing from the heat.

Parul clocked 9:15.31 and created a new national record bettering the previous one by more than four seconds. This is the third time Parul has bettered her personal best this season.


Slow and Steady rise of Parul Chaudhary

Hailing from the village of Iklauta near Meerut in western UP, Parul has been around the athletics circuit for more than a decade and her rise has been slow but constant.

Currently one of the best middle-distance runners in the country, Parul is a triple national record holder. She holds a national record of- 3000m (8:57.19), 5000m (15:10.35), and 3000m Steeplechase (9:15.31).

All these records have come in the past year. In 3000m Steeplechase, Parul has bettered her timing by 23 seconds in the space of one thirteen months.

Improvement of Parul Chaudhary in 3000m Steeplechase in the past five years- A massive jump of 55 seconds.

One of the major reasons behind the improvement is the coaching program set by American coach Nick Simmons over the last couple of years. Apart from triple national records, Parul became Asian Champion earlier in July.

"I have benefitted immensely from the high-altitude training at Colorado Springs. Last year, I was here (Colorado Springs) for just 25 days, but this time, it has been two months now here, doing high-altitude training," Chaudhary had said in an earlier interview.

In the senior circuit for nearly 10 years without much international success, Chaudhary is hoping this season to be a defining one as she aims for medals in the Hangzhou Asian Games.

In the 2018 Asian Games, the 5000m gold-medal winner clocked 15:08.08s while the silver winner ran 15:30.57s, which is much more than the national record set by Chaudhary.

In the 3000m steeplechase, veteran Indian Sudha Singh had won silver in the 2018 Asian Games with a time of 9:40.03, as against Chaudhary's personal best of 9:15.31 which she clocked yesterday.

With a new national record and Olympic qualification secured, Parul Chaudhary looks destined for another podium finish in the upcoming Asian Games.

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