My goal is to win a medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics and make the country proud - Indian athlete Ankita Dhyani
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Hailing from a tiny village of Maroda in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, Ankita Dhyani is one of India’s most dominant junior athletes. As one of four children in a farming family, the prospect of being an athlete, a profession that nobody had ever pursued in Maroda was laughable to say the least. If anything, her success in her relatively short career so far is a testament to Ankita Dhyani’s talent, desire to succeed, perseverance and the will to overcome the innumerable challenges she has faced.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Indian athlete Ankita Dhyani speaks about her journey to become a professional athlete, winning gold medals at the Federation Cup Junior Athletics Championship, overcoming challenges, the influence of her coach Pratibha Toppo, breaking the National Under-20 women’s 5000m record and her future goals.
Q1) What motivated you to become an athlete and who did you look up to as you were growing up?
I started playing during my school days but I didn't have much knowledge about it. All this was never part of my vision but after participating in the 2017 trials is when I thought that I could become an athlete. I don't have any particular idols or role models as such because becoming an athlete was never my goal, but now I am very happy that I chose this path for my career.
Q 2) How was the experience of winning the gold medals at the Federation Cup Junior Athletics Championship?
My experience was very good. I've been winning gold medals since 2017 and I have experienced success many times which has helped me grow as an athlete. Before my first gold medal in 2017, I did not think I had any chance of winning any medal. That was an unreal experience and it gave me a lot of confidence and inspiration to take on the challenges ahead.
Q 3) What are some of the challenges that you have faced in your career and journey so far? How did you overcome them?
I have faced a lot of challenges in life and the struggle continues till date. When I started off, I wasn't aware of how to go about things but my family and my primary teacher supported me by making me aware of the various trials that were held in the state. My father took me to these trials until he got unwell. Nowadays the struggle is more towards the financial side as it becomes difficult to buy expensive sports equipment.
Q 4) How influential has your coach Pratibha Toppo been in your career so far?
In my career there have been a lot of influential people who have helped practice for 2 years which has helped me set the national record. Coach Toppo was one of the key personalities who guided and nurtured me into a national record holder.
Q 5) How proud are you of breaking the National Under-20 women’s 5000m record?
I couldn't believe myself when I broke the existing record and did not know I could perform so well. I felt happy at that time as I have also now qualified for the World Under-20 Championship and hope to achieve more in the future.
Q 6) What are your goals and aspirations for the future? How do you plan to achieve them?
I want to win a medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics and make the country proud.
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