Haryana’s Summy Kaliravan is poised to make National Games history long before the curtain goes up here on September 29. The sprinter will become the first female athlete to compete for services in National Games track competitions, after being recruited under the Indian Army’s new sports policy.
There are, however, several other women in the services squad, including trap shooter Seema Tomar, who won gold for services at the 2015 National Games in Kerala, rifle shooter Capt. Harshita Dahiya, the pistol shooter, Major Anuja Verma and compound archer Arti Joshi. .
The Army Mission Olympic Wing, empowered by Army Chief of Staff, General Manoj Pande, recently opened its doors to sportswomen and para-athletes. A 19-year-old 400m runner, he joined the military police corps.
Summy represented India at the World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Nairobi and Cali and has a personal best of 53.57 seconds.
With the induction of female athletic talent, the Army hopes to become a powerhouse in the women’s and mixed categories, which account for approximately 60% of medals offered at major competitions. The move will inspire more female athletes to join the military and use its state-of-the-art training facilities to win medals for the country.
Summy is looking forward to a medal on his debut for services. “I was recruited for the sport and I want to make sure I win medals under the Services banner. It is a great privilege for me and my family. I have always heard of the National Games but now participating in the Games is a dream come true,” she said from her training base at the Army Sports Institute in Pune.
Major Arti Singh, who made the switch from judo to compound archery, said she was honored to be a member of the services team for the first time. “It’s a proud moment for me,” she said from her base in Meerut. She will try to win the individual medal as well as the mixed team medal with Hav. Robert or Hav. Arjun.
Major Anuja Verma will represent the services in the 25m pistol competition. “I’m happy to have participated in the National Games,” said the shooter from her training ground in Mhow. Captain Harshita Dahiya, who will compete in the 10m air rifle events, echoed the same sentiment and looked forward to a good result.
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