#Sport

Who Is Rosy Paulraj? Athlete Breaks Pole Vault National Record At National Games

Rosy Paulraj
When 25-year-old Rosy Paulraj arrived in Gujarat from Tamil Nadu with a mission of performing her absolute best for her state and standing out as an athlete, she had one more dream to realise – to break the national record in vaulting.

Rosy Paulraj has now broken the national record with a jump of 4.20 m, surpassing former vaulter V Surekha’s record of 4.17 m. She only took up vaulting only two years back and broke an eight-year-old national record made by Surekha.

The National Games 2022 are currently underway in Gujarat featuring around 36 sports with participants from 36 States and Union Territories. Every athlete, among the 7000 athletes participating in the games, is living a dream of playing nationals. Paulraj is one such athlete who has had an equally interesting and difficult journey from right when she started as an athlete to now representing her state at the National Games.

Rosy Paulraj Sets National Record

Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur district resident Paulraj teared up with a medal around her neck after the award ceremony at the National Games in Gujarat. Her visible emotions tell us a story about the grit and determination she showed at the vaulting finals, given that she joined the sport only in 2019. Paulraj, who has earlier been a gymnast and has played javelin throw as well, realised her passion for vaulting only two years back, and she has ever since only dreamt of becoming the best in the sport. Recording a jump of 4.20 m, she has now broken a record of eight years, and this is just the beginning for her as she aims to work harder for the Asian Games and the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The 25-year-old’s journey hasn’t been breezy just like most athletes in India because not only this was a sport with limited facilities and training, she was taking it up at the age of 23, which again seemed unconventional for people around her. But Paulraj’s journey has always been far from conventional and, to her, this is where she knew she’d make a mark.

Paulraj’s love for the sport began when she was in year two of her college and witnessed a young vaulter in Chennai perform with the pole like she never thought could be done. Paulraj’s transition was smooth in terms of athletic ability considering her flourishing background in gymnastics at the junior level.

Her current coach Milber Bertrand Russel was earlier in a dilemma about Paulraj making it in the sport given her relatively short height that may have not worked with Vaulting. But he got convinced after he witnessed her perseverance for the sport, and has backed her ever since.

“I’m crying because I’ve been able to prove myself to all the people who didn’t believe in me and justify the belief of all those who did believe in me.”

Paulraj’s father, a music teacher in Tamil Nadu, has always supported his daughter in every endeavour she has taken up, and this was nothing different. When she recently missed her train for the National Games, he borrowed money to arrange a flight for her and helped her get to Gujarat in time. While her mother has been a thorough supporter of her choices, her brother has made sacrifices of his own to help his sister forge ahead in sports.

Paulraj had earlier bagged a silver medal at the inter-state Vaulting championship in 2021 and clinched her first gold at the nation Gold Medal Federation Cup in 2021 as well, where she crossed a jump of 4 m.

“I’m trying to take it one event at a time. The Asian Games is the first and the 4.30 m jump is the norm there. I am confident of obtaining that mark in the next inter-state or Federation Cup to be prepared for internationals,” she told the media after the ceremony.

This feat is not only special for Paulraj but also for V Surekha whose record she has broken. Surekha played a pivotal role in helping Paulraj land a job at the Railways at the time she was struggling to find a steady income. Luckily for her now, she has found sponsors in some noble people who have vouched to help her through the urgent expenses at training.

Like most athletes in India who are navigating their career prospects and managing their households, Paulraj’s journey will be full of challenges, but just like all athletes have that grit in them to never back down, Pualraj too is all set to move forward with this win and aim for international tournaments with a bigger version, and a terrific support system.


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