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National Games 2022: History beckons Haryana's Summy Kaliravan, set to become Services' first female athlete

By Ranjit
Summy Kaliravan

Bengaluru, September 24: Haryana youngster Summy Kaliravan is all set to make National Games history well before the curtain goes up on the 36th edition in Gujarat on September 29.

As per a media release, the sprinter will become the first female athlete to compete for Services in National Games' track and field competitions, after being recruited under the new sports policy of the Indian Army, aimed at women.

The 19-year-old 400M runner has been absorbed into the Corps of Military Police.

Summy has represented India at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Nairobi and Cali and has a personal best of 53.57sec.

With the induction of women's sports talent, the Army hopes to evolve into a powerhouse in both women's and mixed categories, which constitute about 60 per cent of medals on offer in major competitions.

The decision will spur more women athletes to join the Army and to use its state-of-the-art training facilities to win medals for the country.

Summy is looking forward to winning a medal on debut for Services. "I was recruited because of sports, and I want to make sure I win medals under the Services banner. It's a great privilege for me and my family. I always heard about the National Games but now taking part in the Games is a dream come true," she said from her training base in Army Sports Institute in Pune.

There are, however, several other women in the Services squad, including trap shooter Seema Tomar, who won gold for Services in the 2015 National Games in Kerala, rifle markswoman Captain Harshita Dahiya, pistol shooter Major Anuja Verma and compound archer Arti Joshi.

The Army's Mission Olympic Wing, empowered by the Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande, opened the doors to sportswomen and ParaSport athletes recently.

Major Arti Singh, who moved from Judo to compound archery, said she is honoured to be a Services team member for the first time. "It's a proud moment for me," she said from her base in Meerut. She will take a crack at the individual medal as well as the mixed team medal with Havildar Robert or Havildar Arjun.

Major Anuja Verma will represent Services in the 25M pistol competition. "I'm happy to make it to the National Games," said the markswoman from her training location in Mhow.

Captain Harshita Dahiya, who will compete in the 10M air rifle events, echoed the same sentiment and looked forward to a good outcome.

The 36th National Games will be held at six venues -- Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot and Bhavnagar -- in Gujarat from September 27 to October 10.

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Story first published: Saturday, September 24, 2022, 13:36 [IST]
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