Poonam Yadav, who hails from the Agra district has become the first woman cricketer from the state of Uttar Pradesh to receive Arjuna Award. She received this news from her teammate and 2018 Arjuna awardee Smriti Mandhana.
The 27-year-old works as the office superintendent at Agra Railways Records Department. Yadav joined Indian Railway through the sports quota in the year 2011 as a junior clerk in the Agra Division of the North Central Railway. Later, she made her international debut in 2013. Yadav ranks number 3 in the world T20 cricket.
“I had no words to express my happiness. It was my teammate Smriti Mandhana who informed me about the award. She is herself an Arjuna awardee from 2018,” she told The Times of India
“This award is the recognition of the efforts of my parents – Raguvir Singh and Munni Devi who believed in my ability against all odds, including societal and family pressures, to support me in my endeavor to play cricket,” Poonam said.
After the Arjuna Awards were announced on Saturday, her family and coach Manoj Kushwaha exchanged sweets at their railway colony home, as a mark of celebration. Yadav on the other hand, is currently attending a training camp at Secunderabad.
Speaking about his daughter’s acheivement, Raghuvir Singh said, “Since childhood, Poonam was good at sports. Initially, like every Indian parent coming from a humble background, we too hesitated in letting her pursue sports, but when her coaches, including late M K Afghani, Manoj Kushwaha and Hemlata Kala, showed immense confidence in her, we decided to support Poonam.”
Poonam’s family also got a congratulatory message from the Railway officials.
Speaking to Sportstar about her recommendation for the Arjuna Award, Yadav said, “I really worked hard to prove myself on the field, and I am glad that it has paid off. I am grateful to all the coaches who have helped me come so far. It’s been a tough ride, but with god’s grace, I could battle all the odds.”
Poonam Yadav is the daughter of retired subedar, Major Raguvir Singh. Her father now works as a lecturer at Arya Kanya Inter College at Sikandrarao, Hathras. Yadav, who is a legspinner, has 3 siblings. She is the second youngest of them.
I really worked hard to prove myself on the field, and I am glad that it has paid off. I am grateful to all the coaches who have helped me come so far. It’s been a tough ride, but with god’s grace, I could battle all the odds. – Poonam Yadav
Poonam is the only sportsperson in her family, that originally belongs to Mahuahra village, that falls under the Ghiror police station in the Mainpuri district. The family settled in the Agra district in 1990 while Poonam was born in the year 1991.
“She has a never-say-die character. From joining training at Eklavya stadium in Agra in 2007, she had captained the Uttar Pradesh side that won the Under-19 championship in 2010. She is now UP’s first woman cricketer to receive the Arjuna award,” says Poonam’s coach Manoj Kushwaha.
Picture Credit: sportsCELEBfamily
Udisha Srivatav is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv