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Marathoner Jayanthi Kumar Sampath completes race in sari

She did it to promote handloom.


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What's the story?

Whoever claimed that running was best done while dressed in a tracksuit? Jayanthi Sampath Kumar decided to go against convention and run a marathon clad in a saree. Gathering the interest of all spectators, she competed against 20,000 runners and covered a total distance of 42 Km.

Complete with sandals and a bindi, in the garb of the traditional Indian woman, Jayanthi went on to say why she decided to break the odds of convention. According to a report in Deccan Chronicle, she was quoted saying, “I want to promote handloom and encourage women. This is a statement of my support. I am a cyclist and ride very often, and notice a lot of plastic pollution happening around us. I am keen to curb that and want to use this platform to oppose it. For that, maybe I should run in a sari made of plastic wrappers people throw”.

In case you didn't know

While Sampath Kumar did make heads turn in her unusual avatar at a sporting event, she is not the first woman to take such a step. Earlier, in December 2013, 61 year old Lata Bhagwan Kare also ran in a saree, barefoot and won the Baramati marathon, beating her fellow competitors by a high lead.

The heart of the matter

Acting as a source of inspiration for all women, Jayanthi Kumar looked her comfortable best in her traditional saree. She stated that she wished to run the marathon barefoot, but the stones hurt her as a result of which she opted for simple sandals.

She went on to say that she took all measures to record her feat at the marathon, where she worked along with a cycle marshal who helped her record videos and captured her photographs as evidence.

Besides this, giving her company was Uday Bhaskar Dandamudi, a 27 year old who ran the marathon in a dhoti. Sharing a mutual interest of cycling with Jayanthi, he wished to be a part of the run in a similar manner.

What's next?

Having carried out this stint, Jayanthi's next step is to enter the Guinness Book of World Records. She has already applied and wishes to win the title for running the fastest marathon in a saree.

With a condition of requiring the completion of the marathon within 5 hours, she said that with the help of her coach, Dr Vignan, she might have achieved her target and is waiting for her certificate as proof.

Author's take

Women such as these are an inspiration to society. In a country with gender stereotypes, we have a Jayanthi Kumar going against them to prove a point. The saree could be the new track suit for women comfortable in them, and why not?

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