Third place finish for barefoot Rohit

May 19, 2012, 08:23 IST | Sundari Iyer

Rohit Ramesh Gaikwad beat the scorching sun and ran barefoot to finish third in the 600m under-14 category of the Mumbai Suburban Athletic Championships at the Sports Authority of India ground yesterday. He took 02:04:03 to cover the distance.

Siddhesh Bhosale finished with a timing of 01:44:07 to come first, while Aman Mehta stood second, clocking 01:58:03. Rohit, son of a sculptor from Sai Nagar slums of Kandivli, showed everyone present at the venue that you don’t need fancy shoes to perform well in an athletic meet. Rohit prefers to run bare feet. He isn’t disheartened to have missed out a chance to represent the district in the state meet to be held in Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune from May 25. Only the top two players get to go there. 

Rohit Gaikwad runs barefoot during the Mumbai Suburban Athletic C’ships yesterday. Pic/Rane Ashish

“This is the first time I took part in a district level competition. Also, because of the rising temperatures, the synthetic turf was incredibly hot and it hurt my legs. At the halfway mark I felt dehydrated, but I motivated myself and kept running. My aim was not to win a medal, but to finish the race,” said the 12-year-old student of the Dr T R Naravane Secondary Marathi Medium School.

Yuvraj Naik, his coach at the Naravne Sports Academy, was impressed. “Rohit is a very dedicated kid. I am proud that he braved the heat to come third. I am confident that he will come back strong and win the gold next year,” said Naik. Meanwhile, his schoolmate Mayuri Suthar (13) won the gold in the 3000m under-16 category clocking 12:12:01. Mayuri idolises the 2010 Commonwealth bronze medallist Kavita Raut. “Running is my passion. I am able to do well in athletics as I train for long distance running under Naik Sir. Someday, I want to win medals like Kavita,” she said.  

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