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Athletics

Dhanalakshmi breaks down after hearing sister's death news on her return from Tokyo Olympics

Dhanalaksmi's sister Gayathri succumbed to illness on July 12. Her mother had decided not to inform the athlete since the sprinter had to go to Tokyo.

Sprinter Dhanalakshmi
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By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 2021-08-09T12:33:03+05:30

Sprinter Dhanalakshmi was given a rousing welcome when she landed at the Tiruchy Airport in Tamil Nadu from Delhi following her performance at the Tokyo Olympics in the 4x400m mixed relay.

Though the relay team couldn't make it to the finals of the event, Dhanalakshmi was happy with her welcome. However, the happiness turned to be momentary when one of her relatives informed her that her elder sister passed away because of an illness nearly a month ago while she was practising at Patiala.

According to reports, Dhanalaksmi's sister Gayathri succumbed to illness on July 12. Her mother had decided not to inform the athlete since the sprinter had to go to Tokyo on July 23 and she did want her daughter to lose her spot.

Dhanalakshmi constantly had to battle the shackles of poverty to reach this stage. After losing her father at an early age, her family was dependent on her mother who worked as a domestic help to feed and educate Dhanalakshmi and her two sisters.

Sports was just a vehicle for her to channelize her struggles. She pursued her studies at Alava's College in Mangalore and whatever she got as a stipend, she used to send to her family.

Sprinter Dhanalakshmi (Source: AFI)

In her college, she started playing Kho Kho, but her coach M Manikanda Arumugam, a former Tamil Nadu sprinter, noticed she wasn't that good in the sport and hence, he suggested her to try athletics.

Manikandan, who still was competing as a sprinter took Dhanalakshmi under his wings and helped her with food, nutrition, and coaching. Within a year, results could be seen when she won a gold medal in the 200m at the Inter Universities championships in Mangalore.

Her mettle was witnessed by the Indian athletics fraternity when she stepped into the race track on Tuesday. The Tamil Nadu sprinter ran in the 24th Federation Cup National Athletics Championship in Patiala, clinching gold in the much-anticipated 100m event by clocking 11.39 seconds.

Who would have thought she would beat the best in the business. Her effort stood out in the final against the Asian Games silver medallist Dutee, who came in second with 11.58. Hima Das was disqualified for a false start.

Dhanalaksmi took part in the mixed 4x400m event where the team finished 8th in the heat.




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