Race walker Reshma Patel betters second National Record in a fortnight 

The Uttarakhand-athlete bagged a gold medal in the U-18 girls 5000m race walk in the National junior athletics championships

By Samrat Chakraborty

Rising Indian race walker Reshma Patel is making rapid progress.

The Uttarakhand-athlete set her second national record in a fortnight as she bagged a gold medal in the U-18 girls 5000m race walk in the national junior athletics championships at the Sarusajai Stadium in Guwahati on Sunday. She set a new record with a timing of 23:38.57s to break K.T. Neena’s U18 record time of 24:11.70 set in Bambolim in Goa in 2014.

Her achievement is remarkable as it comes soon after she broke the U-20 National Record on her debut in the 10000m race walk at the Junior Federation Cup in Bhopal on January 26.

The Dehradun girl was given a good fight by Rupali (Uttar Pradesh) and Deepika Sharma (Rajasthan) but did well to pull away from her rivals to post a comfortable win.

Patel credited her brother and mentor Indrajeet, a long-distance runner who participated in the Youth Olympics 2010, for her monumental growth.

“Bhaiyya has paved the way for us,” she told the Indian Express. "He did everything for us, including fighting with everyone back in our village to get us to Uttarakhand. He takes care of our dietary requirements. He trains us regularly. I did not even have a clue about professional athletics until my brother got me here."

Patel comes from a farming background in Allahabad. Her brother Indrajeet, who once sold vegetables, to make ends meet was instrumental in convincing the parents to let her take up athletics.

“I fought with everyone. Even my family members were against it. The villagers ridiculed me by saying ‘why don’t you achieve something significant first, then you can train your sisters,’” Indrajeet said.