Khelo India Fuels Kerala Gold Medalist’s Long-Jump Dream

  • Ancy won the Under-21 girls gold medal in long jump in the Khelo India games.
  • She won the 100m heats too and made it to the finals.
  • Ancy is a daughter of an auto-rickshaw driver, Sojan.

It was a typically busy but fulfilling day for Kerala’s Ancy Sojan, at the Khelo India Youth Games on Sunday, 12 January morning.

It began with the 18-year-old fine tuning her leaps in the long jump pit; it ended with her breaking the Games’ record and winning the Under-21 Girls gold medal. But the real fun was in between, when she quietly sneaked away to take part in the 100m heats.

Ancy timed it to perfection, getting away after her fourth jump but returning in time to take her fifth. Needless to say, she won the 100m heats too and has made it to the finals.

The daughter of an auto-rickshaw driver, Ancy is used to long days on the field; but she is also used to competing against herself even in national-level events.

In her second leap itself, she cleared a record-breaking 6.36m, almost assuring herself of the gold.

Of course, the Thrissur lass couldn’t slack off as the earlier record-holder, Tamil Nadu's Sherin A, was also in the fray. Sherin, who had jumped 6.15m last year to own the mark, came up with a gallant fight; she had to settle for the silver though, as she could only manage a best of 6.30m.

Ancy has been inspired by the record-breaking feats of none other than Usain Bolt.

Not too surprisingly, the multi-event competitor has been inspired by the record-breaking feats of none other than Usain Bolt.

"“Yes, I was inspired to take up athletics after watching Usain Bolt on television. I want to have the same work ethic that he had, be as dedicated as he was.”" - Ancy Sojan, Indian Athlete

“Like him, I am not looking only at the Olympics; I want to perform everywhere I go and become a renowned athlete in the world," she added.

Incidentally, Ancy's father Sojan too was a passionate athlete during his childhood. He competed and won in long jump, high jump, triple jump and 100m events; but he couldn't make much headway because he didn't get the support that he needed.

An auto-rickshaw driver now, Sojan knew early in his life that he couldn’t afford to dream about sport.

"In our family, almost all of us were good in sports. But we didn't have decent coaches around and some of us had to get down to earning a livelihood too. I didn’t want my children to go that way and made sure that they got good coaching,” Sojan explained.

Incidentally, Ancy's coach Kannan VV, is also an auto driver.

"“For 23 years, he had been training students in the mornings and in the evenings; for the rest of the day, he drives his auto to provide for his family. He doesn’t charge anything for his coaching efforts.”" - Sojan, Ancy’s Father

Ancy's family finds it difficult to provide sporting equipment to her; but they somehow manage to provide her the basic things, thanks to the Khelo India initiatives and some help from their friends.

"It's difficult to purchase equipment for Ancy since we have limited means. But, we have received help from Khelo India and some of my friends pitch in as well," Sojan revealed.

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