“I started with sports when I was in the sixth class,” recalls Seema. “The first time I ran 3000 Km was in a district competition. I came in the first place in that competition. That in itself drew me further towards the sport. From then on, I full indulged myself into long-distance running. Finally, in the class tenth, I went to a sports hostel in Dharamshala.”
Residing in Himachal Pradesh, the terrain provided a difficult scenario for Seema. Due to the altitude and the geography, it was difficult to fins big, open spaces to run. As a result, the youngster used to run around her school’s short-distance track.
“I used to run in a ground in my school, which was meant for two hundred metres races. The ground used to be very rough and contained a lot of stones and pebbles. My feet used to hurt due to running on such surfaces but I still continued running. Once you start developing an interest in something, it is hard to let go of,” says the athlete.
“This is how I used to train initially. But when I went to participate in competitions, that is when I started getting notices.”
Seema also received something to propel her even further. Something many aspiring sportspersons crave for – their family’s approval.
“My family members have supported me from the very beginning. Apart from my family members, my coach has also helped me a lot. He has motivated me to perform even better,” Seema says.
With the support of her family and coach Kehar Singh, Seema has gone on to win thirteen medals in the last two years. Eleven of those have been on a national level, which also includes seven golds.
The youngster also holds three different junior national records and has already qualified for the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires. However, before moving on to what’s next for her, we take a look at what the year brought for Seema.
Earlier this year, the first Khelo India School Games took place. Sportspersons under the age of seventeen were invited to participate from all over the country. Seema, who also ran under the scheme, reveals that she has since been selected for the programme.
“I have been selected under the scheme. But that has been the only development since. There will be progress regarding this matter in the coming days,” the youngster reveals.
Thinking back about the event, the youngster recalls a going through a rollercoaster of emotions. “I was first in my event. However, at one point it seemed like I would finish in the last position!”
Seema had been planning and preparing for the event for a while. She was confident of her performance before the race even began. However, an unfortunate trip almost ended up ruining her preparations. Almost.
“During the race, I tripped and fell down and was left behind. I remember it was the fourth lap in which I had fallen down. I was injured as well. Nevertheless, I picked myself up and ran the remaining laps to the best of my abilities.”
“Before the race, I had planned out how I was going to run. But when I fell down, the whole plan collapsed. After that, only one thought came to my mind; that whatever happens, I have to win the race,” the KISG gold medallists reveals.
The youngster finished the race in the first position, drawing plaudits from all around the country. Her timing of 10:15.15 was impeccable as well, considering she had taken a tumble midway through the race and was hurt.
However, the young athlete is not limiting herself to the Khelo India performance and is constantly striving to be better, “It matters to me that I continuously keep giving my best performances.”
The Road Ahead
The youngster was selected, in her category, for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. The Games will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina this time around from October 6 to October 18.
Seema finished the qualifying process in the second position, confirming her place at this year’s Olympics.
The youngster, along with the other selected members, is currently preparing for the Youth Olympics. Although, they might have to change quarters very soon in order to better acclimatize themselves to the Argentinian surroundings.
“Right now I am in the Youth Olympics camp. The Olympics are taking place in Argentina, where the weather will be a bit chilly. We will probably be shifting soon to Bengaluru to practice in similar conditions,” reveals the youngster.
Seema is taking her training step-by-step; as she and her teammates are looking to better the previous best timing, before moving on.
“I am aiming to better the time of the previous edition’s medal-winning timing. We look to do better than that at first,” says Seema.
The athlete is keeping her feet close to the ground. Nonetheless, she is not limiting her ambitions. “For now, my main target is the Youth Olympics. Apart from that, I am also looking towards the 2020 and the 2024 Olympics, and the 2022 Commonwealth and the Asian Games.”
“I only dream of representing India on a senior level, which hopefully, I will be able to do very soon,” the long-distance athlete signs off.