After making history at the World Championship earlier this month, Annu Rani is dominating the tracks this season too. The 27-year-old bagged gold medal in the women’s javelin throw event at the 59th National Open Athletics Championships in Ranchi on Thursday. A few days ago, the athlete became the first Indian woman to enter the javelin throw final at the World Championships in Doha. She has followed it up by registering an electrifying win at the Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium. Annu attempted six throws and bettered her rival, Sharmila Kumari. At the World Championships, Annu set the national record at 62.43m. She bettered her own national record after showing a much-improved technique in a span of seven months. She had thrown her last best shot at the Federation Cup in March where she went to a distance of 62.34m.

Her first throw on Thursday reached a distance of 56.97m, followed by a series of throws over 55.97, 58.31, 57.29 and 56.86 meters, before securing the title with a 58.60m throw. Sharmila’s best effort was over 53.28m on her third throw.

Key Takeaways:

  • Annu Rani bagged the gold medal in the women’s javelin throw event at the 59th National Open Athletics Championships in Ranchi.
  • Annu recorded a comfortable win over rival, Sharmila Kumari.
  • Her last best shot was to a distance of 62.34m at the Federation Cup in March and the national record of 62.43m at the World Championships in Doha.
  • Meanwhile, star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra said he decided not to take part in the championships on the advice of his coach.

“I tried to analyse my throws, tried to understand where I was going wrong and tried to improve on them. That helped me immensely,” said the Asian silver medallist after her winning effort of 58.60m, Sportstar reported. “And I tried to learn as much as I could from the world’s top throwers. I am confident I can do the 64m to qualify for the Olympics next year, Tokyo is my big target,” she added.

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She comes from a family of farmers

Born into a farmer’s family in Bahadarpur, a village in Uttar Pradesh, Annu was inspired and encouraged by her brother, Upendra, who noticed her upper body strength during a cricket game. After some training and trials, Annu picked up a long piece of bamboo and attempted her first javelin throw. Seeing the potential in her, her brother paid for her training even though her father disapproved of girls taking up sportsThe girls in our village have to work a lot and then are married early. I did not want that sort of life for me, I wanted to leave the village, go out and do something big,” she said as per Scroll.in. Annu convinced him with her talent after she broke the national record in 2014, and now her father is one of her biggest supporters.

Born into a farmer family in Bahadarpur, a village Uttar Pradesh, Annu was inspired and encouraged by her brother, Upendra, who noticed her upper body strength during a cricket game.

“We know that it is really tough to bag a medal at the Championships but it’s our job to hope and pray. We are really proud of her achievement. She called me a while back and said she was feeling really good about the throw and is confident of putting up a better show in the final,” Upendra, a farmer himself, told The Indian Express.

From Athletics World Champions to Worlds

Annu is currently supported by Olympic Gold Quest, a non-profit organisation which supports Indian athletes. She had qualified for the Athletics World Champions in London in 2017 – also the first Indian woman to have achieved this feat. On her way to the World’s, she broke her own national record and brought home the gold medal at the Federation Cup National Senior Athletics Championships. She recorded a throw of 61.86m to secure her place at the London event. The qualifying mark for the World Championships is 61.40m and World No 15 Rani is the first Indian woman to cross the 60m mark.

“There are small things which need to be kept in mind. The knees, shoulder, hip and the throwing arm need to be aligned in a perfect manner. I had the issue of lowering my throwing arm and then almost freezing it before release. This resulted in me being unable to use all my power. Actually, power or strength is not an issue for me but it is my technique,” Annu had said in March.

Annu is a proud athlete with five national records to her name in the just span of last three years. The 27-year-old broke the national record with a 58.83 m throw at the National Inter-State Championship in 2014.

Past achievements

Annu is a proud athlete with five national records to her name in just a span of three years. The 27-year-old broke the 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. In 2017, she crossed the 61m-mark. Her personal best during training is a brilliant 63m.

Her most recent achievements include a silver medal at the 23rd Asian Athletics Championships in Qatar in 2019. She also won a bronze medal at the IAAF World Challenge event held in Czech Republic.

Feature Image Credit: The Indian Express

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