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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Inspiration - MS Rawat went from selling tea & working in fields to fulfill his dream of taking part in the Olympics

Rio Olympics 2016 gave India new sporting icons in Dipa Karmakar, Sakshi Malik and P.V.Sindhu, but there were also several heartening stories of Indian players that went unnoticed in the race for medals. Few people know that India was represented by a part-time waiter at the racewalking event at the Rio Olympics. Fewer still know that he bested previous Olympic Medal winners in the competition and narrowly missed the bronze medal by less than a mn 2002, when his father passed away, 10-year-old Rawat saw his mother toil in the fields to make ends meet for the family of four children, including him. Rawat would work with his mother on the farm in the morning before heading to school about seven kms away by foot. In 2006, he took up a part-time job as a waiter at a small eatery near his hometown, Sattar, in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. With two sisters and a young brother at home, Rawat had a hard time sustaining his family on his meagre income as a waiter. Knowing that excelling in athletics could help him get a government job, Rawat decided to pursue racewalking.

Racewalking is a long-distance discipline within the sport of athletics. Although it is a foot race, it is different from running in that one foot must appear to be in contact with the ground at all times (over the course of 20 km, at no point can both your feet be mid-air). This is why, apart from the inherent stamina, technique and fitness required in any long distance race, racewalking also tests mental.But Rawat refused to be put off by the lack of world class equipment and a stream of naysayers at Badrinath who would make fun of his walking practice. He pursued his Olympic dream with utmost devotion. Training on the hilly terrain in torn shoes, Rawat continued to juggle several jobs to make ends meet for his family and also support his training. From working as a house help and tourist guide to labouring on farms and driving tractors, the Uttarakhand lad did everything. All through his struggle, people continued to make fun of him, not knowing that the young man was on his way to taking part in the greatest sports show on earth.

In 2010, Rawat tried to get a job with the police through the sports quota. He was desperate to improve the financial situation of his family. This job would give him a salary of Rs 10,000 and all his training and participation at events would be sponsored. However, he was rejected. This was financially the most difficult time for him, and Rawat considered quitting the sport in order to fend for his family. It was his coach who convinced Rawat that he was making progress and that he had a future in the sport.............

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