When Kolhapur’s Jayashree Boragee decided to graduate from cross-country to marathon running six months ago, she set off for a remote village of Sagroli, near Nanded, to train at the Sagroli Sunrise Project, which has nothing but a ground. At Uran, about 70 kms from here, Nilam Kadam didn’t even have the luxury of a ground to train on.
But such adversities have hardly dented the spirit of these girls and their one-two finish in the women’s half marathon in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon will provide a ray of hope for many such aspirants.
For 20-year-old Boragee this was her first-ever half marathon race and gold was unexpected icing on the cake. “I was confident of a good run but I never thought I would finish first,” she told Hindustan Times.
Boragee decided to join the Sagroli Sunrise Project after their trainees had proved their mettle in the marathon here last year. “I get to train in a group that is dedicated and it has helped me immensely,” Boragee said.
The project, conceptualised by Mumbai-based businessman Deepak Kanegaonkar, also had impressive performances this year, with three girls and four boys finishing in the top-10.
While the Sagroli project has some corporate backing, Nilam Kadam finds backing at the Uran Athletics Club, from a group of former athletes who have been training kids in middle and long-distance running with the aim of putting the town on the national sports map.
“Since we don’t have our own ground, we use a ground owned by CIDCO whenever it is free,” said Kadam’s coach Jagdish Patil.
The club had approached chief minister Ashok Chavan to provide them with space for a track. “The chief minister promised to help us and asked us to apply to CIDCO. But we are still trying to arrange initial funds to make them an offer,” Patil added.
The list of problems at both these centres is unending, but what Boragee and Kadam’s success has proved is that athletes here are willing to overcome any obstacles to attain their goal.