Lalita Babar was born on the 2nd of June 1989 in the Satara district of Maharashtra. As a daughter of a farmer’s family, she spent her early years in a lot of difficulties. Frequent droughts and conservative social set up made her life even tougher. Independent life was a dream for girls but she fought all the challenges.
She always wanted to be a long-distance runner. She tried her skills in many formats.
Her first shot to glory came in U-20 National Championship in Pune in 2005. She won the gold medal. She started making a buzz at the senior level. The 1.66-meter tall girl completed her hat trick of Mumbai Marathon wins in 2014. She judged her abilities. Then from here onwards, she got stuck with 3000-meter steeplechase. In 2014 Asian games, she won the bronze medal of the same. She bettered the National record of Sudha Singh with the timing of 9:35.37 in the process.
In the finals of the Asian Athletics Championship 2015, she improved it to 9:34.13 and clinched gold. It also provided her a ticket to Rio. At the World Athletics Championship Beijing the same year, she lowered NR once again in qualifying round. This time, the clock read 9:27.86. Thus, she became the first girl from the nation to run the final of the 3000 steeplechases at the World Championship. In the final, she put pressure on all the racers by taking an early lead. Finally, in the last two laps, she lost her footing and finished 8th.
The record-breaking continued. 50 kg Babar continued to dwarf NR. In Federation Cup 2016 in New Delhi, she took 9:27.09 to complete the race. Her most credible achievement followed. It was her appearance in the final of 3000-meter Steeplechase in Rio 2016. By qualifying, she ended the country’s 32-year wait. Before her, the legendary P T Usha competed in the final of 400-meter Hurdles of 1984 Los Angles games.
At Rio, in the qualifying, she further improved NR. She took 9:19.76 to touch the tape. In the final, she clocked a timing of 9:22.74. She returned as the tenth best athlete from the medal race.
Lalita Shivaji Babar is a source of inspiration for a lot of athletes in the nation. About 50-60 girls in her village ‘Mohi’ are practicing long-distance races. Due to knee injuries, she is out of action for a whilie.
FICCI and Ministry of Youth and Sports in India declared her Sports Person of the Year in the India Sports Awards 2015. Prestigious Arjuna Award was given to her the next year. Currently, the Anglian Medal Hunt Company is supporting her. She tied the knot with an IRS officer Sandeep Bhosale. She is now the mother of a child. She remained a little cagey about her return for a long time. Recently, she disclosed that she wants to compete till 2022 Asian Games. We want her to achieve more success for the nation.
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