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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

From station’s sweeper family to U18 world number one: Bapi Hansda makes India proud at 5th Asian Youth Championships

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17-year-old, Bapi Hansda, has struggled to become a world-class athlete, but nothing can stop him. He won the 400m Hurdles Silver Medal at the 5th Asian Youth Championships in Uzbekistan, giving India its first medal.

Drums and trumpets woke up passersby at the New Delhi airport earlier this month. The young Indian athletics team returned from the Asian Athletics Championships in Uzbekistan with a record 24 medals to a deafening applause.

Bapi Hansda, 17, was the focus of the spontaneous festivities. The hurdler’s silver was more important than his gold.

“This was my first international trip and medal. “I was nervous going to Uzbekistan, but having the team and coach around me helped,” the latest Indian sporting prodigy told The Bridge.

Bapi Hansda was U18 400m hurdles world champion earlier this year. His 51.38m silver in Uzbekistan handed India its first medal at this event, but it would have won gold at any prior edition. Two years ago, it was the U18 world record.

“Considering this was only his 5th 400m hurdles attempt, it is fantastic. This youngster seems promising. He’s a fast runner, yet he used to hurdle poorly. “He worked a lot on his hurdle technique to make it efficient, but he needs more technical work,” Reliance Foundation coach Martin Owens told The Bridge.

Odisha’s Bapi Hansda won the 400m Hurdles Silver at the 5th Asian Youth Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Indian athletics benefits. For years, this youngster will make us proud. Congratulations Bapi and coaches at Odisha Reliance HPC photo.twitter.com/0QXYOpiwI5

April 30, 2023—Vineel Krishna (@rvineel_krishna).

Jajpur station to top of world. Bapi Hansda received the most sweets at the New Delhi airport that day, but the child recalls a day when an apathetic throng passed him by at the Jajpur Road train station in Odisha without a glance.

“It was hard. My elder brother Goona Hansda, a station sweeper, was my host. “In the beginning, there wasn’t much food or shoes, but I made do,” Bapi remarked. Bapi’s recent feats earned him Rs 25 lakh from the Odisha government, but the Hansda family struggled before this.

At 4, my father died. I assume he did some farming, but that was too long ago. My mother worked at a tower firm to support us after his death. “My eldest brother Goona moved to Jajpur to work as a sweeper, and we followed him,” claimed the family’s latest hero.

Balasore’s Hansda family. After Bapi was accepted into the Odisha government-Reliance Foundation high-performance program, the family returned to Balasore to work in the fields.

I never imagined playing internationally, let alone becoming world number one. I ran and practiced to perform well in school activities. “My speed, endurance, and technique are all improving steadily,” Bapi added.

Bapi Hansda has a long way to go, yet he’s overcome life’s hardest challenges with ease.

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