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Khelo India Youth Games

Like mother, like daughter: Karnataka's Unnathi wins 100m hurdles gold in style

Clocking 14.00s, Karnataka's Unnathi Aiyappa has taken the first big leap in following in her Olympian mother's footsteps by winning gold in the 100m hurdles at the Khelo India Youth Games.

Unnathi Aiyappa (in centre) won gold at the KIYG

Unnathi Aiyappa (in centre) won gold at the KIYG


The Bridge Desk

Published: 9 Jun 2022 6:44 AM GMT

When your mother is a two-time Olympic athlete and an Asian Games medal winner, the bar is set rather high for the daughter.

But that has not fazed Unnathi Aiyappa who turned 17 just a few days ago and has decided to emulate, if not surpass the feats of her famous heptathlete mother, Pramila Gudandda Ganapathy (now Aiyappa). She took a big step towards that ambition by storming to the girl's 100m hurdles gold at the Khelo India Youth Games in a time of 14.00 secs here on Wednesday.
Watching from the stands was an ecstatic Pramila whose husband is a professional athletics coach and oversees his daughter's training. The lissome Karnataka lass dedicated the gold to her parents and earlier coaches.
Ironically, despite their deep links to athletics, the parents wanted Unnathi to pursue a career in badminton or swimming. It was not to be. "I tried a lot of sports but I didn't like any. Even in athletics I was a champion in long jump before becoming good in hurdles and deciding to stick with it," Unnathi said.
"We don't want to put pressure on her and hope she progresses naturally," Pramila stated, the aim being to groom her for the heptathlon. "This is her first outing at the Khelo India Games. It was her big dream to win a medal at the KIYG and I am thrilled she got it," she added.
Unnathi is a commerce student at the Alvas College in Mangalore and trains at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. Like every promising Indian athlete, she wants to win a medal at the Olympics.
"After Neeraj Chopra's gold, the energy levels have gone up here. Indians now believe they can do it," Unnathi said.
Now that will be a big hurdle to overcome but Unnathi is up for the challenge.
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