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Her Father Thought Girls Shouldn’t Play Sport, Now Annu Rani Will Represent India At Olympics

Annu Rani, Annu Rani qualifies for Olympics
Annu Rani qualifies for Olympics: Annu Rani, the National record holder in the Women’s Javelin Throw, has secured aTokyo Olympics berth through the alternate qualification route of World Rankings on Thursday. World Athletics officially announced the quota places for three Indian athletes. India’s top sprinter Dutee Chand has qualified for the 100m and 200m events, MP Jabir will give it a shot in the 400m hurdles while Rani will take part in the Women’s Javelin Throw.

The 28-year-old has been a consistent performer in world javelin over the last couple of years with recently bettering her own national record but still missing the Tokyo Olympics qualification mark by more than half a metre at the Federation Cup Senior National Athletics Championships in March. While the Tokyo Olympics qualification mark for women’s javelin throw is 64m, Rani could only earn 63.24m. Winning gold, she obliterated her earlier national mark of 62.43m which she had recorded during the World Championships in Doha in 2019. Recently, she improved her national record to 62.83m at the National Inter-State Athletics Championships in Patiala. Now, despite not achieving the qualifying mark, her strong ranking of World No 11 has helped her bag the quota.

Annu Rani qualifies for Olympics: The 28-year-old, who had won a bronze in the 2014 Asian Games and a silver in the Asian Championships in 2019, will be representing India in the global event in Tokyo.

Born and raised in a family of farmers

Born into a farmer’s family in Bahadarpur, a village in Uttar Pradesh, Rani was inspired and encouraged by her brother, Upendra, a farmer himself. He noticed her upper body strength during a cricket game. After some training and trials, she picked up a long piece of bamboo and attempted her first javelin throw. The potential in her impressed her brother who paid for her training even though her father disapproved of girls taking up sports.

The girls in her village have to work a lot and then are married early, the Meerut girl had explained in an interview with Scroll.in, adding that she did not want that sort of life. “I wanted to leave the village, go out and do something big,” Rani convinced her father with her talent after she broke the national record in 2014, and now he is one of her biggest supporters.

She said she still feels the need to “work on her technique” and she’s confident of doing so, The Indian Express reported. She said she will focus on strengthening her knees, shoulder, hip and throwing arm that needs to be aligned in a perfect manner.

The athlete with five national records to her name in just a span of three years broke another national record with a 58.83 m throw at the National Inter-State Championship in 2014. Later in the same year, she won the bronze medal at Asian Games in Incheon with a throw of 59.53 meters. In the process, she again bettered her own record. In 2016, she crossed the 60m barrier with a 60.01m throw at the Open National Athletics Championships. She had qualified for the Athletics World Champions in London in 2017 – also the first Indian woman to have achieved this feat. In the same year, she crossed the 61m-mark. Rani won a silver in the 2019 Asian Championships besides a bronze in the 2014 Asian Games. She also had qualified for the final of the event at the 2019 Athletics World Championships.

Feature Image Credit: The Indian Express