Ludhiana, March 16
Sunita Dhand of Ludhiana made her presence felt, winning two medals in the inaugural edition of the Khelo Masters Games, held at Indira Gandhi Stadium, Delhi, recently wherein around 1,750 veterans took part in different sports disciplines in all age groups.
Sunita annexed gold medal in triple jump and bronze medal in a long jump event in the above 35 years category. She had already won medals in the national and international competitions.
Sunita, mother of two daughters, took up athletics in 2016 under the guidance of Dronacharya awardee and athletic coach Sukhdev Singh Pannu and tasted success instantly when she won two gold medals in the state championship. She secured gold medals in 100-m sprint and triple jump events.
Sunita won gold medal in triple jump and bronze medal in sprint hurdles in the National Masters Athletics at Bhopal, the same year.
She continued to perform well and finish among position holders in the next edition of these games, held at Allahabad where Sunita cornered glory, winning gold medal in sprint hurdles in addition to two silver medals (long jump and triple jump).
Sunita won first medal in an international tournament as she secured gold medal in the Indo-Bangladesh Masters Athletics Meet held at Delhi in 2018 where she bagged top honours in triple jump.
In the National Masters Games held at Chandigarh in 2018, Sunita won gold medals in triple jump, long jump and 4x100-m relay race, while last year, she romped home victorious to fetch gold medal in triple jump event at Goa.
Besides, Sunita secured silver medal in relay race and also won bronze medal in triple jump event in the Open Masters International Athletics Championship held at Malaysia in 2017.
Sunita bagged gold medal in hurdles and silver medal in triple jump during the All-India Masters Athletics Championship held at Panchkula, last month.
Last year, Sunita was selected for the Pan Pacific Masters Games held in Poland, but unfortunately could not accompany the Indian squad as she was suffering from chikungunya.
Sunita owes her success to the coach, Pannu, under whose guidance she improved a lot and her husband Harish Dhand who encouraged her to follow her passion for sports.
Currently, Sunita is preparing for the upcoming World Masters Athletics Championship, scheduled to be held in May in Canada, followed by PAN American Masters Games to be held at Rio in Brazil in September.
The master athlete, however, rued the indifferent approach of the state government towards this category of players. “We have brought fame to the state and our achievements are no less important than others and need to be acknowledged. The neighbouring state, Haryana has always been there to promote sports and felicitate their sportspersons, including veteran players. We urge the Punjab government to take a cue from their counterparts and encourage the master/veteran players which will certainly give a flip to the development of sports and also motivate the youngsters to take an active part in games,” Sunita said.
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