New Delhi [India], April 16 (ANI): National record holder in 1500M Harmilan Bains caught the imagination of the sports fans in India when she bagged Gold medals in 800M and 1500M events at the Khelo India University Games 2020. Post her success at KIUG 2020, the athlete from Punjab broke Sunita Rani's national record with a timing of 4:05.39 at the 60th National Open Athletics Championships in Warangal in September last year.
However, the runner, who is recovering from a knee injury, will not be there to defend her titles at the Khelo India University Games beginning in Bengaluru this month.
Speaking about KIUG, Harmilan said, "The Khelo India University Games was a life-changing moment for me. I started improving as an athlete from that competition and I cannot forget that tournament. I am really dejected that I am not able to take part in this year's KIUG. I received a lot of love and respect in the last edition of the competition."
The athlete further added that she will aim to qualify for the Asian Games once she gets fully fit, "Currently, I am focussing on strength training in Ooty. I decided to come here because it's better to carry out recovery sessions at a high altitude. After I get fully fit, my immediate goal will be to qualify for the Asian Games. Hopefully, I'll be able to make an attempt to achieve the qualification mark in June."
When asked about being a national record holder, the 23-year-old said, "I was really excited to take part in Federation Cup and Khelo India University Games this year just to hear the announcer call out my name as the national record holder (laughs). But it's my bad luck I guess that I am not on the track at the moment. I've recorded a timing of 4:05.39, but my target is to achieve a timing of below 4:00."
The athlete also expressed that she would like to break the world record in 1500M one day, "Like every other sportsperson, I also have a dream of winning an Olympic Medal. But if I record the timing of 3:56 within two years, then I will try to break the world record. Along with an Olympic Medal, I will try and be a world record holder as well."
Speaking about how she stumbled into running, the national record holder said, "There was a point when I wanted to play lawn tennis, but my father said that it'll be difficult for him to take me to Jalandhar every day because the city is one hour away from my home. Then my parents asked me to start running because they were athletes themselves. At first, I didn't feel like doing it, but now I am having a lot of fun."
Over 4500 participants from around 190 universities will be seen in action at the Khelo India University Games in Bengaluru from April 24 to May 3. The athletes will battle it out across 20 different sports including indigenous sports like Mallakhamba and yogasana. (ANI)