Stree Shakthi focuses on the journey of a retired athlete from Tamil Nadu.
India secured more than 107 medals in the recent Asian Games, their best ever performance. But just 3 decades ago, the situation was a lot different. I remember several parents requesting our Physical Education Teacher to not drag their children into sports. They feared for the financial security of their children’s future and wanted to avoid any risk of injury as it brought more expenses. To score medals at national level during such tough times is no mean achievement. Jayanti, a retired national level medalist in Discus throw takes us through her journey and some wise words for the future generation.
- Can you share a moment or event that kindled your interest in sports?
I have some fond memories of my sporting days and loved every moment I was competing on the track. I was so elated when I won 4 gold medals at Zonal Level when I was in the 10th grade. That triggered my interest in sports and I decided to pursue sports as my career.
- What do you consider to be your proudest moment in your sporting career?
My proudest moment came when I was in 11th grade. I secured a gold medal at a state level meet. In recognition of the achievement, my school, despite being a government school, declared a half a day vacation. This is no mean achievement and a moment I will remember forever.
- Who are your role models or mentors, and how have they influenced your life and career?
My role model is my P.E.T teacher, Radha. She played a significant role in shaping my career. She motivated me to practice better and gave me the confidence that I can secure medals at National level if I stayed committed and practiced better.
- How do you handle failure or setbacks in your journey toward success?
I always treat my failures as positive events. I would think through the mistakes that caused the failure and try to correct them to improve further. When I felt low, I had my father, coaches and friends around me to boost my confidence and were supportive to help me come out of those failures.
- How do you see the future of women’s sports, and what changes or improvements would you like to see in the field?
As far as women in sports are concerned, they are competing as well as men for India. Their performance in the recent Asian games is a testament to this. I wish there were more sponsorships during my era. My peers and I were predominantly dependent on our family’s savings to keep fit and train. Despite this, we participated in all the events with a positive mindset and gave our best which helped me achieve those medals. With good sponsorship at grass root level, I am sure the girls would be able to achieve greater heights.
- How do you see infrastructure today versus your time? Any ideas how it can be improved further?
As far as infrastructure is concerned, in Tamil Nadu the facilities are awesome for athletes in general but the throwers like discus, shot put, javelin need better facilities to train.
- Indian Women are achieving greater things in sports these days but there are still some concerns about girls taking up sports. What will be your advice for the parents and young girls?
My advice to young girls would be to give equal importance to both sports and education. Both education and sports will help you scale up in your career and will help in the longer run. As far as parents are concerned, it would request them to give them importance sports as much as they give for education.
About the Athlete
Jayanti is a throw specialist, she has won many national medals in discuss and javelin throw. She is also good at shot put and hammer throw. Her record in Javelin throw in AL mudaliar athletics meet, a state championship, was unbeaten for over 18 years. She retired after 2009 national games and is currently helping young talents to learn throw events. If you would like to reach out to her for coaching your kids, contact her at email@example.com.