Girl picking cotton in fields qualifies for nat cross country

A 15-year-old girl, who works in the fields, has qualified for the national cross country championship, to be organised by the School Games Federation of India, in Punjab next month.

For Gayatri Sukhdev Gaikwad, who hails from Babulgaon Budruk village from the district, attending school and picking cotton in the fields is a routine. But what drives her is running.

And intense practice ensured she won a state- level cross-country event held in Satara in western Maharashtra and qualified for the national cross country tournament.

“Gayatri, despite recovering from a knee injury just recently, won in Satara and has qualified for nation cross country competition to be held in Punjab,” her coach and teacher Satish Patil told PTI on Tuesday.

“And our school has received confirmation letter from District Sports Office, signed by DSO Ashok Giri, in this regard. Gayatri will participate in training camp at Balewadi Sports Complex before the competition,” Patil said.

According to Patil, the tournament will be held from December 11-15.

Gayatri said that she trains daily for three hours.

“I train daily and have qualified for the tournament.

I work with my family in the fields, where I pick cotton. I aim to win a medal in Punjab,” she told PTI.

The young athlete is able to practice only for a session as she has to work with her family.

“She is the daughter of a farmer and picks cotton to help her family. She trains in just one session of three hours daily, that too after helping her family with household work before attending school,” he told.

Apart from training at Jay Hind School here, she runs on the roads, for up to 10 kilometres at a time, the coach claimed.