Nine-year-old Tai wins U-16 bronze at DSO athletics championships
All of nine, Tai Hiraman Bamne surprised everyone present by winning a bronze medal running barefoot in the 600m event of the girls' U-14 category of the District Sports Office (DSO) Maharashtra State athletic championships at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Kandivli recently.
Tai, clocked 1:46.5 seconds to finish third, behind gold medallist Dziila Mao (1:45.8) of Mumbai and silver medal-winner Manasi Uike (1:46.6) of Nagpur.
Tai however, failed to qualify in the 600m event at the national-level meet to be held in Ranchi early next year as only the top two athletes from each event were picked for the same. Tai was satisfied with her performance on her maiden trip to the mega city nevertheless.
“I had no clue about athletics three months ago. It was during a routine exercise in my school that my physical training teacher Hikul Bhagwan Mahadu held a race for girls and boys and I stood first.
I want to train hard now and win medals for the country like Kavita (Raut) didi (Commonwealth Games 2010 10,000m bronze medallist). This is the first time I am participating in a state level competition.
I slowed down towards the end as I was a bit scared that the other athletes’ spikes would hurt me. Else, I would have won a gold medal,” said the resident of Dalpatpur village in Trimbak Taluka of Nashik district.
Coach Vijender Singh was pleasantly surprised with Tai’s performance. “It’s just been a week since her school teacher brought her to me. I haven’t even started training her properly.
She is very young and I got her here to just get a feel of the competition. I didn’t expect a medal from her. But now I’m sure she can win gold here next year,” Singh said.