P U Chitra: I am an ardent admirer of P T Usha and Usain Bolt
As the nation celebrated Sports Day today, Kerala has very special reason to cheer up. This year, the State which has gifted the country some of its finest athletes, has repeated its magic. This time it’s a village-born lean and shy girl from Palakkad who along with her relentless sporting spirit won the nation a gold medal in the 1500-m race at the 22nd Asian Athletic Championship held in Bhubaneswar in July. P. U. Chitra was on her way back to Palakkad from the State capital after attending a felicitation ceremony organised by the sports council when The Kochi Post got in touch. She speaks about her career, studies, dreams and ambitions.
Though Chitra’s remarkable achievement in the Asian Athletic meet gave her laurels, the Athletic Federation of India did not consider her name for the World Athletic Meet of the year, held in London earlier this month. Chitra, with her characteristic might overcame this backlash, which was quite unexpected, very easily. “Sports is where you will often face such roadblocks. You cannot lose your heart each time. Yes, I was disappointed at first. But very soon I reached back. Sports ensure you this sort of resilience,” Chitra smiled.
Chitra adds, “I am an ardent admirer of P. T. Usha and Usain Bolt. It was in 2010 I won my first ever medal of my career. It was the national school meet. I was a ninth standard student and I won gold medals in both 1500 m and 3000 m race.” Since then she did not have to look back. She had a ‘midas touch’ and won almost all the races she participated. The achievement at the Asian Athletic Championship added a golden feather in her cap.
“As a young girl I used to admire my seniors in the school who would participate in sports. I was inspired by a girl named Nirosha who used to take part in various championships. Regular interaction with these girls and my inner motivation to become a known sportsperson finally put me in the running track.” It was Chitra who approached the school physical education trainer Sijin to tell about her interest in joining the school sports team. “I received a warm welcome from the coach and I participated in my first competition when I was in seventh standard. I did not get any prize for it. It was a 800-metre race.”
What Chitra wants to tell the younger sports enthusiasts is that with focused practice and determination, one can achieve any heights. “Sports is a highly competitive area. And I want my career to motivate those from villages to dream high. Those who are not interested in sporting activities will have some other strong points. Ultimately, it’s all about finding what you are actually interested in and work hard to improve your skills,” Chitra says.
Chitra’s day starts at 5 am. She practises under coach Sijin N. S. every day from 7 am to 9 am and in the evening from 5 pm to 7 pm. “This is the routine. I don’t follow a specific diet. I take what is prepared at home.” Chitra is pursuing her Masters in History. The Kerala Government has offered her a job after completion of the course in 2019. The ‘Queen of Asia in the mile’ has set her sights on the upcoming University meet.
P. U. Chitra’s photo has been taken from her Facebook page.