Monday, September 27, 2010

Chennai girl raring to go past hurdles at the Games

Gayathri Govindraj's on the last leg of her training before she goes to New Delhi for the Commonwealth Games (CWG). The 20-year-old is just back from Bangalore, where she went to attend the national coaching camp but left halfway as she wanted to train with her own coach. "My coach understands me best and knows how to help me train," says the Chennai girl, who will be competing in the triple jump and 100 metre hurdles. She is also one of the youngest athletes at the CWG.

About 10 years ago, Gayathri was training for a school event when P Nagarajan spotted her. He advised her to train with him at Prime Sports Academy for free. Since then there's been no looking back. "Gayathri is one of the youngest athletes selected for the CWG and she has her best years ahead of her," Nagarajan says. "She had a good run in the world junior championships where she reached the final of the 100m hurdles. We hope she'll do well in Delhi too."

Though she is participating in two events, she says she hasn't decided which event to prioritise. "Right now, I am training generally focusing on increasing my fitness levels and building up my strength. That should hold me in good stead," says Gayathri, 20, who spends two hours in the morning and three to four hours every evening in training.

Nagarajan says, "Statistically speaking, she has a greater chance of getting a medal in the triple jump. So we might ask her to train keeping that event in mind. But right now, the training is general."

Training for the two events is similar. "Running is a vital part of both. You need a good start and only then will you be able to get the necessary lift to jump. The other similarity is learning to keep your balance right. In triple jump, before the final leap the athlete must know how to adjust steps so that he or she does not make one error

that could harm the jump. In hurdles, the athlete has to learn how to balance himself after the jump and then run and jump again," he says.

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