Doha: A creditable eighth-place finish in the World Athletics Championships under her belt, India's top javelin thrower Annu Rani has called for giving equal opportunities to women in sport as they can also perform and bring laurels to the country.
Annu became the first Indian woman javelin thrower to qualify for the final round of the World Championships but in the end, finished eighth on Tuesday.
She broke her own national record in the qualification round on Monday with a throw of 62.43 metres but fell short of the distance in the final as she could only produce a best of 61.12 metres from the eight attempts.
"I got a lot of support and I want to thank them. I want to say that women should also be given equal opportunities in sports and people should believe in them. They can also perform very well and give very good results," Annu, who belongs to Badal village near Meerut, said after her event.
"This is my second World Championships and I am feeling good about reaching the final and finishing eighth. In the final, I could not do better than my qualification round performance but I am happy with the eighth-place finish. I will do better in future," she added.
The 27-year-old Annu had failed to qualify for the finals in the last edition in 2017 in London where she had come up with the best throw of 59.93 metres to finish 20th overall in the qualification round.
Annu could have won a medal in the 2018 Asian Games but a disappointing best throw of 53.93 metres had placed her in the sixth position in the final round and she said she needed help through counselling and motivational videos to come out of that difficult period in her career.
"I was mentally down after the 2018 Asian Games. It took time to come back after that. I motivated myself and that is how I am here today," she said.
"Yeah, I needed counselling to motivate myself, I watched motivational videos on youtube. The experience after the 2018 disappointment made me learn a lot of things, how struggles make you strong. Now I am feeling mentally stronger."
She said she will need to further improve upon her technique and reign in her tendency to be aggressive during competitions.
"I have strength but there are flaws in my technique and I am trying to improve on those. If I do that, I will be able to achieve the Olympic qualification mark which is 64 metres and I hope to do that. My ultimate aim is an Olympic medal."
"There was an improvement in my technique and it was going on very well during training. But during competitions, I become a bit aggressive and that is the problem. I have to curb this," said Annu, who won a silver in the Asian Championships at the same venue in April.
Asked what was her experience of the training stint in Europe before the World Championships, she said, "The training in Europe helped me a lot, especially the stint in Czech Republic where I got a lot of chance to compete with the top throwers. The experience helped me. Training under Uwe Hohn also helped in learning a lot."
"But I realised that in India, athletes have late starts while those of other countries begin very young. So we have to make improvements in techniques."
Updated Date: Oct 02, 2019 17:28:40 IST