Nine months ago, after a deeply disappointing Olympics, Annu Rani did not have the courage to face anybody. The javelin thrower was nearly 10m behind her national record in Tokyo, finishing near the bottom in the qualification round, leaving her shattered.
“After the Olympics, I did not go home. I was nervous, I was worried what everybody would say. Everybody kept asking why I went to Tokyo,” said Rani in a chat with Sportstar from Jamshedpur.
“During the Olympics time, I had knee and ankle injuries and was under a lot of pressure. Five months before the Olympics, my knee injury started. But I did not have time to take rest, I had to continue training. My condition was very bad. In Tokyo, during training, I was crying because I couldn’t walk.
Annu Rani throws 63.82m, betters her national record in Indian Open javelin meet
“That is why I did not do well at the Olympics. So, I went straight to Patiala for rehab since we have the Worlds and Commonwealth Games this year. I won’t forget Tokyo [experience] my entire life.”
And just when she needed them the most, her sponsors deserted her.
The 29-year-old, from Bahadurpur Village in Uttar Pradesh, has now recovered from her injuries. She improved her national record to 63.82m, at the javelin throw Indian Open in Jamshedpur on Sunday and jumped to the third spot in this year’s World list.
However Rani, daughter of a farmer, was not focusing on big throws in Jamshedpur.
“I was trying to focus on my technique. My technique is good so automatically my throwing was good too. I thought I’d get 64m. I did not prepare well because I’m in the loading phase in training. So I just took this competition as training but I tried my best because my training is going well,” said Rani, who is coached by Parveer Singh at the Patiala national camp.
Rani is just 18cms away from this July’s World championships (USA) entry standard (64m), and is confident of qualifying through the world rankings route.
At the last Worlds, in Doha 2019, Rani became the first Indian woman ever to enter the javelin throw final at the championships and finished eighth. She is confident of doing better.
“Something like 66m can win a medal at the Worlds. At the Olympics, 66m brought gold, while silver and bronze went for 64. Everything is possible, in my mind I think I can win a medal at the Worlds,” said Rani, who is supported by the Government’s Target Olympic Podium scheme.
The 2019 Asian silver medallist is now faster on the runway and throwing higher too and is working on these for bigger throws.