Sunday, Mar 25, 2018 | Last Update : 10:38 AM IST
Local girl Harshita Shetty, who clinched a gold at Junior National Athletic meet in Visakhapatnam.
The rise of the likes of P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, who have gone on to become icons of their sport, has inspired parents to accept the fact their children can have a career as sportsmen. Kandivali’s Harshita Shetty who clinched a gold medal in shot-put at the Junior National Athletic meet held in Visakhapatnam has made the most of liberty given to her from her folks.
With a strong physique and a confident nature, Harshita came close to breaking the national record, shooting an impressive distance of 11.24 metres only to fall short by 4 cms. Aged just 13, she has been grabbing medals at the inter-school competitions. Her mother, Mamta Shetty is marathon runner and her father Sadhu Shetty is a badminton player.
Many parents keep their children away from extracurricular activities in school but Mamta has a different perspective. She has encouraged Harshita to take up sports above education as she feels that her daughter has great potential to reach heights at bigger stages. “She will be in the ninth grade next year but we have never told her to study. She does it by herself and even if she does not, we don’t force her. I think we should realise that our children can have a career in sports after athletes have done so well in competitions,” said Mamta, who has competed twice in the Mumbai Marathon in the 21-kilometres race.
“When she was a kid, she enjoyed playing throw ball. She is a strong girl, I realised why not give a shot at disc throw and later she tried her hand at shotput and she did wonders. My dream is to see her playing for the country and we will try to get her the best training for the same,” she further added.
The competition had 100-odd participants in the Under-14 category out of which Harshita emerged victorious by a metre, said her mother. Being this her first national tournament, Harshita felt the heat. The 13-year-old has garnered many medals at the school level, but this competition was something new for her. “I was confident that she could break the record but she was nervous. Even though she got a medal, she was a little upset to not break the record,” said her mother.
The Shetty family is keen on fitness as both parents are into it. Her coach Pundarik Puthran is happy with Harshita’s performance as well. “Not many girls have a potential like her. I think she can go the distance if she stays focussed.”
The Kandivali girl was a tough competition to her competitors who were elder to her as well. Not many parents support their kids the way Harshita’s parents have even though the scope is wide.