Growing up in a small conservative village in Maharashtra, independent life and the option of chasing her dream almost didn’t exist for Lalita Babar. Most girls in her village are married off as soon as 18. However, Lalita had one dream, and she was fortunate enough to find support from her parents to chase that dream.
The journey wasn’t easy. The obstacles literally never stopped coming. But when your heart wants something, it is relentless. A true inspiration for all women, Lalita has been unstoppable. Here is everything you need to know about this fighting runner…
Lalita Shivaji Babar
Track and Field
3000 metres steeplechase
Date of Birth
2 June 1989
Mohi, Satara, Maharashtra
Shivaji and Nirmala Babar
Lalita Babar Biography
Lalita began her career as a long-distance runner. She became the hat-trick winner of the Mumbai Marathon in the year 2014. Soon, she started participating in 3000 metres steeplechase events.
Her breakthrough came immediately at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. With a timing of 9:35.37, Lalita went on to win the bronze medal at the event. Her first international feat came with another achievement. She broke the National record made by Sudha Singh.
The very next year, she made golden glory by winning the yellow metal at the 2015 Asian Championships. Babar clocked in 9:34.13 and broke her own record. Moreover, the occasion was doubly joyous as she qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics as well.
After making her mark at the Asian level, it was time to conquer the world. Lalita bettered her record by clocking 9:27.86 at the World Championships 2015 in Beijing. Though she couldn’t get a podium finish, she became the first Indian woman to qualify for the steeplechase final.
Lalita has been a true record-breaker. Every year she has steadily improved her performance. At the 2016 Federation Cup National Athletics Championships in New Delhi, she made another national record by clocking 9:27.09.
Rio Olympics qualification was definitely a dream come true for Lalita. She became the first Indian woman to qualify for the final of a track year in 32 years. Earlier, PT Usha achieved this feat in 1984 before by finishing fourth place. She broke the national record in the heats with a timing of 9 minutes 19.76 seconds in the 3000m steeplechase race. Her feat was celebrated by her entire village with much gusto.
“People organised big processions in the village. I felt like I had won the medal,” she told Red Bull in an interview.
After a short break for her wedding in 2017, Lalita started training under coach Dr Nikolai Snesarev. His regime was tough, but she worked hard on getting up her endurance levels.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games was a much-awaited comeback for Lalita. Unfortunately, she pulled a muscle in her back, and her dreams were shattered. However, she isn’t someone who is going to wallow in self-pity for missed opportunities. Lalita has already shifted her base to Pune and is working hard to get back in the groove.
- Sports Person of the Year, FICCI and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, 2015
- India Sports Awards, FICCI and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, 2015
- Arjuna Award, 2016
Achievements of Lalita Babar
|2014||Incheon, South Korea||3000 m steeplechase||Bronze|
|2015||Wuhan, China||3000 m steeplechase||Gold|
Family of Lalita Babar
Lalita was born and raised in Satara district of Maharashtra. Her family has been involved in farming. Lalita’s decision to be an athlete was supported by her family members, wholeheartedly. In May 2017, Lalita got married to IRS officer Sandeep Bhosale. The couple was soon blessed with a child.
Unknown Facts about Lalita Babar
- Coming from a small village, Lalita faced a lot of social anxiety in the beginning. She was really shy and found it hard to break the ice with fellow athletes during the 2014 Asian Games.
- Lalita’s first pay cheque was of Rs.10,000. She received it in 2004 after a 10-km race. This win and the prize money gave her a lot of morale boost.
- Talent management company Anglian Medal Hunt Company is supporting Lalita Babar.
— Punam Raut (@raut_punam) January 9, 2019
Felicitated & awarded the Pride of India-long distance running queen- Lalita Babar at @Zee_Yuva Awards- which recognises contribution of talented youth in different fields !The youth of today are leaders of tomorrow so let’s inspire them in every possible way, to be achievers!🙏 pic.twitter.com/uLiCBsOeqc
— AMRUTA FADNAVIS (@fadnavis_amruta) December 23, 2017