AHMEDABAD: It is fortunate that Murli Kumar Gavit's concentration prevents him from realising that it has been twenty years since a Gujarati track and field athlete won a medal at the National Games. As he trains to win a distance running medal at the 36th National Games at home, he is unaffected by pressure.
"For the past few years, I have been looking forward to these National Games. I'm glad it's taking place in my backyard now. I'll do my best to represent my State with pride "Murli, who is scheduled to compete on Saturday said.
I've been shaped by the state into the person I am now, and I'll work hard to take the platform in Gandhinagar. Before his running abilities were found, the tribal boy worked as a cattle herder in the remote and thinly inhabited
Kumarbandh hamlet in Dang district. "To help his family and earn some money, he participated in local races. The Gujarat Government has been instrumental in shaping him into a champion since about 2015; "Nilesh Kulkarni, his coach, who has closely watched his development, remarked.
In the Asian Junior Championships in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in June 2016, Murli won the 5,000-meter bronze medal for India, and soon after that, he received praise on a global scale. With a personal best time of 28:38.34, he won silver in the 10,000-meter race at the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Three years prior to his attempt at the gruelling 25-lap silver medal at the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships, Murli won the 5000-10000 double in the AFI Federation Cup in Patiala, his last victory coming at the national level. The National Games are the ideal venue for him to resume his winning ways.
His goal will be to end Gujarat's medal drought in athletics at the National Games, which has persisted since Chetna Solanki won the women's pole vault race in Hyderabad in 2002. A victory would undoubtedly motivate many more Gujarati children to start competing in sports.