Munita Prajapati betters Reshma Patel's timing to set a new U20 national record in 10000m race walking

The athlete became the first U-20 woman race walker to clock sub-48 mark

By Samrat Chakraborty

Munita Prajapati created a new national record in the U-20 women's 10000m race walk event at the 36th National Junior Athletics Championships at the Sarasujai Stadium in Guwahati on Tuesday.

The athlete completed the event in 47 minutes 53.58 seconds and bettered the record of 48:25:90 set by Reshma Patel. With this timing, she became the first Indian under-20 woman race walker to clock a timing below 48 minutes.

The 19-year-old from Varanasi had finished third in the same event at the Federation Cup U-20 Athletics Championships last month in Bhopal, where Patel had won gold.

Munita's father is a construction labourer from the Sahwajpur Badhaini Khurd district in Uttar Pradesh and she took up athletics only after her elder sister's insistence.

“My sister wasn’t an athlete but she said this was the only way I could get out of the village and do something. I knew I had to do something to ensure my family’s struggles get over. Both my parents have sacrificed a lot for me and it’s my dream to secure a better future for them,“ Munita told the New Indian Express.

She has already booked a spot for the World Juniors to be held in Nairobi in August 2021 by finishing just a second within the set cut-off of 50:30 seconds at the race walking nationals last year.

In 2017, she appeared for trials at the SAI (Sports Authority of India) centre in Bhopal and was selected. Subsequently, she has secured a Khelo India scholarship for her good performances in the domestic circuit.

In the 5000 Metres Race Walk category she had clocked her personal best of 24:32.30 in November 2019 at Mangalgiri.

Meanwhile, in high jump, Khyati Mathur earned a gold at the U18 high jump event, with a personal-best leap of 1.77m. It was an impressive performance from the girl as she is making a comeback from a knee injury.

She had been training at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala. Hailing from Madhya Pradesh, she had grabbed eyeballs with her performances in the U16 category as well.