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Borivli's 9-year-old Mary Immaculate student Roma Tandel leaps for gold

Nine-year-old Mary Immaculate student shatters record in her maiden attempt in MSSA long jump competition

Nine-year-old Roma Tandel of Mary Immaculate Girls High School (Borivli) set a new meet record in the U-10 long jump event of the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) inter-school athletics meet at University Pavilion, Marine Lines on Friday.

Up in the air: Roma Tandel of Mary Immaculate HS (Borivli) competes in the U-10 long jump event of the MSSA inter-school athletic meet at University Pavilion in Marine Lines yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble

Roma leapt 3.96m to go past the previous mark of 3.86m set by Sharvari Parulekar of Udayachal School (Vikhroli) in 2011.

The Class IV student finished ahead of silver medal-winner Vrutika Patel (3.51m) of Walsingham House School (Napean Sea Road) and bronze winner Rivera Noronha (3.41m) of Canossa (Mahim).

In fact, Roma equalled Sharvari’s mark in her fourth (of six) attempt itself, when she leapt 3.86m. She then bettered her own mark in her sixth attempt. Interestingly this is the first time Roma participated in the long jump event of the MSSA meet.

The Borivli resident who is primarily a sprinter (50m and 100m run), took to long jump in December last year at the insistence of coach Vinayak Shirke, under whom she trains at the Bhavdevi Sports Club in Dahisar.

Trial and success
"Vinayak sir asked me to try long jump, and I loved it. Now, it’s become my favourite event. I still continue running though. Today, I was confident that I could do well, but I didn’t expect to break the meet record. Once I equalled it (meet record) in my fourth attempt, I got the confidence to go further. I hope to win more medals in the running events tomorrow," said Roma.

Shirke hailed Roma’s hard work and dedication. “When she came to me three years ago, she used to get tired while training, but never gave up. She gradually improved and today she has made me proud with this gold. She is very focused and I hope she continues to do so in the coming years,” said Shirke.

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