Training with Army men and 11 eye surgeries later, Rajasthan's Bharti bags gold in her first Para Nationals
Having entered para-sports just a couple of years ago, how did Bharti manage to pocket a gold at the National Para-Athletics Championships? Training with Indian Army jawans might be the answer.
Bhubaneswar: The Women's T13 1500m was one of the most closely fought races on the first evening of the 20th National Para Athletics Championships at the Kalinga Stadium here. Held right after the glittering opening ceremony, Rajasthan's Bharti Mohar Singh raced to a hard-fought win.
She clocked 5 minutes and 32 seconds just ahead of the athlete from Karnataka to secure her team's second gold medal of the event. Earlier, Ishan Khandelwal had decimated the field in Men's T-20 1500m to win gold with a timing of 4:49.43.
Hailing from Churu district – the gateway to the Thar Desert, Bharti took up para-sports just two years ago during the lockdown in 2020, coached by Mukesh Jangir Dhigarla. Competing in her first-ever national competition, the youngster struck gold for her state.
"I started para-sports just two years back during the lockdown. This is my first national event and I have won the gold medal. It feels great to go back home with a medal around my neck," she said to The Bridge.
Partially blind since birth, Bharti has so far undergone a total of 11 eye surgeries to regain her vision but to no avail. Though she is still undergoing treatment in hope of some improvement, she maintains that doctors have already given their verdict.
"I have been partially blind since birth. So far I have undergone 11 operations, but nothing has improved my eyesight. The doctors have already informed that it will not get better, but I continue to undergo treatment so that it does not get worse," Bharti stated with a wry smile.
Having entered para-sports just a couple of years ago, how did Bharti manage to pocket a gold at the 20th National Para-Athletics Championships?
Though she was introduced to the world of para-sports just two years ago, she has been training with able-bodied athletes for the past four years with Army jawans at the Godhara Defence Academy in her hometown.
"I have been training with Sunil Godhara sir at the Godhara Defence Academy for four years. Training at a Defence academy means that I get to train with Army jawans, and it has helped me improve very quickly as a runner," she said.