Abha Khatua is the new promise in the field of Indian athletics. Having started the event only three years ago, Abha has placed herself in the elite list of female shot putters of India, becoming the fourth female shot putter to have crossed the 17-meter mark and having thrown 17.19 meters in Indian Grand Prix this year and 17.03 meters in the throwing championship also this year the 27-year-old shot putter has not only won gold medals, has qualified for the Asian Games next year and the Asian Track & Field competition.
The Hurdles of Abha Khatua
Abha’s home is in a remote village named Khurshi in West Midnapur in West Bengal. Her father is a farmer but does not have his own land. He works as a sharecropper. Abha herself used to assist her father in farming often whenever she was at home. Her elder brother also works in a small private shop. The nearest bus stoppage from her home is around 10 kilometers away and every day Abha had to walk almost half a kilometer before riding on someone’s cycle to reach the bus stoppage. Amidst the severe financial distress since childhood, Abha showed her passion for athletics. Initially, she tried many events, precisely the heptathlon in her college days. Then she started throwing the discus and finally, she decided to concentrate on the shot put. Even after being allowed to train at Kolkata Sports Authority of India (SAI) the athlete did not get the SAI hostel to stay. She was forced to reside at the dormitory of Salt Lake Stadium. Still, the shot putter did not give up. Having shown a great deal of mental strength Abha continued till she was called to Patiala in 2019. Talking over the phone from Patiala Abha said,
“In 2019 I decided to concentrate on shot-put only and here I have been training under shot-put coach Gursimran Singh. Under his observation, I also have changed my technique and it is guiding me to throw better. Previously I used to glide while throwing. Just before the National Games this year I started rotating before the throw. That is why it became difficult for me to perform in the National Games.”
The Determination of Abha Khatua
Abha had to lose most of the last year following disease and injury. She suffered from a wrist injury around March and then was forced to return home in April. Then she was plagued by Covid-19 in May and had to spend sleepless nights for the next two to three months to get fully cured. Abha said,
“I spent the nightmarish days during that phase. I became so weak that I could not move properly, lying on the bed throughout the day. I used to have breathing problems also at that time. Then I went to Mumbai around June and was attacked severely by chikungunya. It created a high level of uric acid, generating acute pain and swelling. Still, I did not lose hope. I used to say to myself that I have to get cured and make a comeback. I used to watch how to recover and do post-recovery rehabilitation on YouTube and prepared mentally.”
The two-time Olympics gold medalist and World Champion Ryan Crouser is the inspiration of Abha. She informed she always watches Crouser’s videos, and his training videos to adopt techniques and drilling exercises.
Abha has now sole aim to throw the shot put at 18 meters before she takes part in Asian Games. She informed me that her training time is gradually increasing as a part of her preparation. Even before the Asian Games, Abha can be included in the Target Olympics Podium (TOP) scheme. The employee of Customs in the Mumbai office, only regretted,
“I need some financial assistance. For example, I need a laptop which I cannot buy now.” Still, the shot putter does not sound pessimistic. She asserted, “I must have to perform in the big events so that I can get a promotion at my office. I feel sad when I think my father still has to go to the field and toil under the Sun for bread and butter.”-- Advertisement --