When Annu Rani first began to throw the javelin, it was virtually a secret affair. She did not want her dad Amarpal or her folks to know that she was keen on sport, so she kept hurling the spear quietly in her dad’s land at Bahadurpur, a village some 15km from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.
“We don’t have a ground in our village and since my father is a farmer, I used to train in his land. But nobody in my family knew about it, I used to train alone. Even when I took part in competitions at school, nobody at home knew about it,” says Rani from the national camp in Patiala.
“And when I came back with gold medals from school meets, my dad used to say, ‘what are you doing? Who told you to do sport?’ I was very scared… I was around 15 then. But one day, my coach told my dad to allow me to continue with sport, that I could be a very good athlete.”
Amarpal supported his daughter…