‘I dream about winning medal in 3000m steeplechase’: Parul Chaudhary sets sight at World Championships, Asian Games
“My main focus this year is the World Championship and Asian Games and for that I'm also putting in a lot of extra effort. My dream is to win a medal in the 3000m steeplechase," told Parul during an interaction with Hindustantimes.com.
India are considered one of the powerhouses when it comes to cricket. Despite the dearth of ICC trophies, the Indian cricket team is regarded as one of the strongest outfits and the popularity of the Indian Premier League (IPL) remains unmatched. If this is the scene in cricket, the country has also started taking long strides in other sports as well.
The Tokyo Olympics is one such example, where India finished with one gold, two silver, and four bronze, the best by the country so far in four decades. Fast forward one year, India produced a decent show at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. The event also saw India break the Kenyan hegemony as Avinash Sable, competing in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, missed out on the gold by five microseconds as he settled for a silver.
Taking inspiration from the fellow runner, Parul Chaudhary, India's women's 3000m steeplechase runner, hopes to bring many laurels for the country, with her eyes now fixed at the World Championships and Asian Games, both scheduled to be held this year.
“My main focus this year is the World Championship and Asian Games and for that I'm also putting in a lot of extra effort. My dream is to win a medal in the 3000m steeplechase, and this is my main target.
“Apart from this I'll also be participating in the 5000m but 3000m will remain my main focus,” Parul told hindustantimes.com in an interview.
Parul finished 20th at the World Cross Country at the 44th World Athletics cross country championships in Bathurst, Australia on Saturday, where she clocked 35:39s. The athlete, who comes from Bahrala, a village in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut district, also holds the national record in the women's 3000m, which she created at the Sound Running meet in Los Angeles last year, and won the Tata Mumbai half marathon held in January.
“It's really good when you win events such as the Mumbai marathon, or create a new record. But at the end everything comes to the hardwork I put. I work for 3-4 hours in the morning and do the same in the evening. I feel good when I win but there are times that despite the hardwork I return empty handed,” she said.
Briefly discussing her training schedule, Parul said that she is on the field by 6:50 in the morning and indulges in rigorous workout until 10 am. She follows a similar routine in the evening, with the only change being in the form of exercises. During evening her main focus is on “strength” exercise, which she normally starts at 4:30 in the evening and wraps it up by 7 pm. Despite the busy schedule, Parul do remain active on social media.
“When I return from practice I take rest. But after lunch I have 30-35 minutes, or even an hour of free time. I use Instagram then,” said Parul.
How was Parul introduced to steeplechase
Parul, who has also won 5000m bronze at the Asian Championship, was first introduced to sport by her childhood coach VK Bajpai but her first steps in athletics dates back to her school days at VP Inter College, Bahrala.
"There was a girl at school and my father challenged me if I can beat her in 800m. Although I had never engaged in a race, I told my father that I'll do it. She was quite popular back when I was in class 10 and in the school sports meet I defeated her. My father was extremely happy and our PT teacher at school insisted my father to enroll me in the stadium.
“Then I along with my sister joined the stadium, where I met VK Bajpai sir. There I was constantly taking part in 800, 1500, and 5000m and was winning medals as well. On one practice day, my coach asked if ‘Parul do you want to try hurdle?’ I immediately said ‘Sir karungi’. The moment I jumped sir said that from now onwards I'll focus on steeplechase, you can do well and it's because of him I'm here,” said Parul.
Parul's journey has only witnessed an elevation since then, and she was recently roped in by sports giants Adidas. In fact during the Mumbai marathon, Parul was also seen wearing a customised Adidas shoe ‘Adizero’, which comes with “carbon plates”.
“When I returned from home, I had only one and half months remaining from the marathon, so I used that during my practice as well,” said Parul, before adding “it's mostly suited to run on roads.”