A proud moment, says Poovamma; Gayakwad delighted

A proud moment, says Poovamma; Gayakwad delighted

 Focused on her preparation for the upcoming World Athletics Championships in Beijing, M R Poovamma received a timely boost with the news that her name had been recommended for the Arjuna Award.

The Karnataka quartermiler, unable to control her emotions, described it as a proud moment in her life.

“I am very happy, it’s a proud moment for me,” Poovamma told Deccan Herald from Patiala, where she is part of the national camp, training under coach Kunhi Mohammad.

“I have always wanted to be part of the larger sporting world, like the Olympics and the Asian Games. Things have been coming my way thanks to my hard work and also the effort of my coaches,” said Poovamma.

“I was expecting the award and I had told my parents to watch out for the news on television. As soon as the news came, they called me and informed me from Mangaluru,” said the quartermiler, who had won silver in the 400M and the 4x400M relay at the Asian Championships this year in Wuhan, China.

Poovamma was also part of the gold-winning 4x400M relay at the 2013 Asian Championships as well as the Asian Games last year, besides winning the bronze in 400M in Incheon.

“My next goal is to compete in the Olympic Games in the individual 400 and I am working hard to meet the qualifying standard,” said the 25-year-old, who was part of the relay team as a reserve at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Sharath delighted

Sharath Gayakwad, who enjoyed a fruitful 2014 with six medals at the 2014 Asian Para Games, couldn’t hide his emotions on realising that the awards panel recommended his name for the Arjuna Award on Tuesday.

“I was at my training. Didn’t know that I was being recommended for the (Arjuna) award. This is really good. I am very happy,” an elated Sharath told Deccan Herald. “It is always an honour to be recognised for your hard work. And it is pleasing to know that this time it is the government who is honouring you. I think, these are some ways in which the government thanks us (athletes) for winning laurels for the nation,” he added.

At the Incheon Games, the 24-year-old won silver in 200M individual medley (SM8), while grabbing five bronze in the 100M butterfly (S8), 100M breaststroke (SB8), 100M backstroke (S8), 50M freestyle (S8) and the 4x100 medley relay. “To be frank, yes, I was expecting (the award). But I had my doubts too,” he stated.

With the 2016 Paralympic Games looming large, Sharath is determined to make a splash at the biggest stage in Rio.

“It is a big thing. Last time in London (2012) though I couldn’t win a medal, I could clock my personal best in four events. This time the goal is to go one step ahead. A top-8 finish is something that I am targeting at the 2016 Games,” he said.

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