The road she's walked has been a long one, but with the Tokyo Olympics on the horizon, race walker Priyanka Goswami still has miles to go. Determined to be the best every time she steps foot on the course, the 24-year-old is looking forward to her maiden Olympics with a renewed sense of optimism.
In February, she clocked a lifetime best of 1:28:45s at the National Open Championships to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics that she likely would have missed had they gone ahead as scheduled. She narrowly missed out on a Tokyo Olympics quota by 34 seconds at the same event last year.
But behind every moment of that glory lay a compelling story of toil, sacrifice and dedication. And yet, the sacrifices and efforts behind shaping Priyanka's career continue.
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Two of the last things she sees before going to sleep at night and the first thing she sees each morning are a pair of posters on the wall of her hostel room in Sports Authority of India (SAI), Bengaluru.
One of them underlines a motivational message: 'Don't stop when it hurts, stop when you are done'.
Call it what you want - labor and results, sacrifice and glory - but for Priyanka, this is much of her life right now.
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An Olympic athlete might look like somebody who bounds up stairs, runs at a superhuman speed, is never out of breath, and has unlimited energy. As exciting as this may sound, there is also a very different side. What we fail to see is everything that goes on behind the scenes.
Sportskeeda recently caught up with Tokyo Olympics-bound Priyanka Goswami to gain a deeper insight into what it would be like to live like an Olympic athlete.
What is daily life like for Tokyo Olympics-bound Priyanka Goswami?
4:30 - 6 AM: "My alarm usually goes off before the sun is up. I usually start my day very early, by 4:30-4:45. I spend the first few minutes recalling the schedule for the day. Then, I practice meditation for at least ten minutes." The path is well worn and familiar.
"After meditation, I eat a bowl of fruits which will help me sustain for a few hours. Then, I read my Gita for some time."
"After praying, I write down my thoughts in a diary. They remind me that big things are possible in life.
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"Then I get ready for my ground practice. First, I practice a warm-up routine which includes everything from release, mobility and activation exercises."
For an athlete, training never stops and there is always room for improvement. The training includes a variety of exercises, interspersed with specific event training, and a session of working out all the wrong muscles through physical activities.
"My first session begins at 6-6:10 AM. I do a high-intensity workout, followed by strength training. The training goes on for three hours."
9:00 - 11:00 AM: "I take a few minutes of much required rest and head to the canteen for breakfast. It usually consists of fruits like papaya, pineapple, watermelon and around 3-4 boiled eggs.
"I come back to my room by 10:00 AM. I drink healthy juice with all kinds of fruits blended with water in my mixer and freshen up in an hour."
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11:00 AM - 12:30 PM: "As the tiredness starts to set in, I take a short nap till 12:30."
12:45 PM - 3:45 PM: "Then it's the lunchtime. I usually eat a lot of paneer, chappatis, rice, salad, boiled eggs, and lentils for lunch."
Then comes time for some well-deserved relaxation.
"After coming back to the room, I usually call up my family and friends and talk for an hour or two. It's snack time at 3:30. I have green tea with some mildly-flavored Indian snacks."
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4:00 - 7:00 PM: "Another ground practice begins at 4."
Each exercise is a painful race against the clock.
7:00 - 8:30 PM: "I perform a prayer ritual after freshening up, followed by dinner.
"My day ends with a healthy dinner consisting of carbs, proteins, and vegetables loaded with nutrients to keep me strong. I come back by 8:30."
9:00 PM: "I relax for a few hours before being off to bed by 9 PM, in order to get up and do the same thing again the next day."
A new day brings its own struggles and challenges as well as victories and new experiences. A sound slumber awaits, for a productive day it has been.
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