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Rio Olympics 2016: "I will give my best and make the most of it," says Kavita Raut, India's long-distance runner

Joe Williams
1.05K   //    17 Feb 2016, 13:47 IST
Kavita Raut Rio Olympics 2016.
Raut won the gold medal in the 12th South Asian Games, and thereby qualified for the Olympics.

Many of us (Indians) might not be aware of Sawarpada, a small village located in Nashik district of Maharashtra, but this village with a population of just 1,074 will be on the world map when Kavita Raut takes to the track at the Rio Olympics this August.

Daughter of a forest ranger, Kavita is the fourth Indian to make it to the women’s marathon event. O P Jaisha, Lalita Babbar and Sudha Singh are the others, who have qualified for the event in Rio Olympics.

But it has been a rough road for this tribal athlete who made running a habit right from her childhood days. Running 20 km every day to school has been her mantra to success, and it was her coach Vijendra Singh who picked her during one of the events in the school.

Running from home to school and back a blessing in disguise

Kavita was just 13 when she made it to the district team for the state meet, and since then, there has been no turning back for this ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) officer.

“Yes, there were no roads and buses, and with no option, we (students) would walk or jog to school and back home. For me, that has been a blessing in disguise,” said Kavita.

“I am sure hard work never goes waste and that’s what is happening to me. I had failed to make the cut in the previous attempts, but today to make it to Olympics is a dream come true,” said Kavita while talking to Sportskeeda from Nashik.

Kavita Raut’s gold medal at the 12th South Asian Games in Guwahati got her the passage for the 2016 Rio Games. “February 12 will be one of those special days in my career as it was on that day I made it to the Olympics,” said Kavita while getting everything right in her passport for the Rio trip.

“I will be rubbing shoulders with the world’s best runners; I will give my best and make the most of it,” said the athlete who won the bronze (10,000 m) at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, in the year 2010, with a timing of 33:05.28.

A dream come true

“This was one event every athlete would dream of taking part in and that has come true,” said the athlete, who missed out of the mark for the Beijing 2008 and London Games 2012. Sometimes losing a battle helps you find a new way to win the war, and Kavita is one among the few who lost the battle twice before winning a war.


Kavita is employed with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), and holds the national record for 10 km road running with a timing of 34:32 as well as the current national record in the half marathon with a timing of 1:12:50.

She won the bronze medal in 10,000 m at the Commonwealth Games 2010—the first individual track medal by an Indian woman athlete at the Commonwealth Games.  She also won the silver medal in 10,000 m race at the Asian Games 2010.

A recipient of Arjun award (2012), she is married to Mahesh Tungar, who is Mechanical Engineer at a Power Generation Company in Nashik.

“Even I want to be there (Rio), let’s see what happens in the next few days,” said Mahesh, who has been alongside Kavita inpursuing her career as an athlete.

“I am just by her side and it is she who does all the hard work,” said Mahesh on his role in supporting Kavita who has also set up an academy in Nashik to train upcoming athletes.