Itanagar: Proving the saying “where there is a will, there is way” right once again, Joti Mane, a teen from a remote village in Arunachal Pradesh won the first gold for the state in the 31st edition of East Zone Junior Athletics Championship.
The 18-year old Mane, who hails from Monigong in Arunachal’s Shi-Yomi district, achieved the feat in the 5,000 m U-20 girls’ event of the coveted national championships, which is currently underway in Ranchi, Jharkhand.
Besides winning gold in the 5,000 m event, Mane also went on to clinch bronze in 1,500 m race.
Currently pursuing Bachelor of Arts (1st semester) from the Dera Natung Government College in Itanagar, an elated Mane, while talking to EastMojo, said that this was her third attempt to win a medal in the national stage.
“I’ve been participating in national track and field events for sometime now and this was my fourth time doing so. Though I never made it to the medal podium in the past three occasions and was forth the last time around, I never lost hope and finally succeed,” said the teen athlete.
Mane said that she had been training for the past four weeks at Sangey Ladhen Sports Academy under coach MK Pegu and that gave her the the much-needed push and experience.
“Prior to this I didn’t go through any training so this time it helped me in achieving my dream,” Mane said.
Talking about the difference in the level of competition, infrastructure and other related aspects, she said that the athletes here train in mud and grass, but when they go to national events they have to run on a proper track which makes it difficult for them.
“I believe that the sports persons here do not have good infrastructure to train and it would be great if the government builds a proper stadium or facility for the track and field athletes,” said the gold medalist.
Also talking about the support provided to the athletes, Joti said there was none from the associations or people concerned. “We collected Rs 3,500 from each player to participate in this championship,” she said.
Meanwhile, another teenager Bamo Tanang also won bronze in the U-20 boys’ 10,000 m race of the competition.
Chief minister Pema Khandu, Union DoNER minister Dr Jitendra Singh and state’s sports and youth affairs minister Mama Natung have congratulated Joti and Bamo for their achievement.