Ranchi: Ancy Sojan, a young athlete of Kerala and a plus one student of Nattika Govt Fisheries HSS, had two hurdles before her when she set out to Ranchi for the 34th National Junior Athletic Championship; a painful injury on her right leg and an unconfirmed train ticket to Ranchi. Finally, family and neighbors bought a flight ticket for her and she surpassed it with her determination.
In the U-18 girls’ long jump competition at the national championship, Ancy Sojan (5.97m) gifted gold medal to Kerala. “The competition was a matter of prestige for Ancy as she came here with the help of others. She won it to hold her head high,” said her coach VV Kannan.
In the State School Athletic Meet held at Thiruvananthapuram last week, PS Prabhavathi had won gold in the same event. But at Ranchi, Ancy won outshining Prabhavathi.
Ancy sustained an injury on her right leg during the district athletic meet held from October 20. Yet she participated in the state school meet. Restless practices and competitions severed the condition.
She had to settle for the third position in the state athletic meet when Prabhavathi (5.82m) and Sandra Babu (5.72m) won gold and silver medals respectively. But the girl consoled herself with gold in the 200m race.
She had not taken rest during the meet days at Thiruvananthapuram. Practice was inevitable prior to national meet. Deprived of rest, the pain on her leg increased. Nevertheless, she was unwilling to quit the national meet.
Thus with the help of neighbors and locals, she decided to fly to Ranchi. She was accompanied by her coach, father and other four athletes from her school.
On Saturday, in the fifth attempt she confirmed gold (5.97m) in long jump. 5.98 m in the State School Athletic Meet is her best performance ever.
Ancy and Prabhavathi have been competing with each other in the national and state level for many years. When Sandra Babu also joined them, the competition in long jump event became tight. Though Prabhavathi came first in the state athletic meet, she had to settle in the fourth position in the national meet.
In the long jump, Uttar Pradesh’s Deepanshi (5.91m) and Odisha’s Manish Meral (5.88m) won the second and third places respectively.
For five years, Ancy has been training under Kannan. She competed in the 100m and 200m races initially. Later, she started to participate in jump events also.