For most Indian sportswomen, marriage means curtains on their careers. And if they become mothers, even the thought of winning medals on the international stage is banished to the farthest reaches of the mind. But one mother has defied these stereotypes, broken social barriers, and made every mother in the country share her pride.
After a gap of 52 years, Krishna Poonia,28, and the mother of a nine-year-old, won the gold medal in the discus event on Monday, and was instantly accorded the title of supermom.
“I want to thank my family for supporting me in my effort to win this glory. Without them, I would be nowhere. My son Lakshay Raj is just nine, but he deserves an extra word of thanks. Despite being so young, he has always understood me, and never complained about his mother not being able to give him enough time because of training camps or other events,” said Krishna. “This medal is for him.”
The Arjuna Award winner is also coached by her husband Virender, which means both have to spend long periods away from their child. “We live in a joint family and thanks to that he has the support structure he needs, and we don't need to worry too much. Sometimes, I don't see him for months. But the only thing he asks me for are medals, and I am happy that today I can give him a Commonwealth Games gold,” Supermom said.
When Krishna was hurling the discus for gold, her son was watching the galleries. After grabbing top honours, she raced towards those closest to her.
“It's the first time my family has watched me perform live. When Lakshay congratulated me, it meant as much as winning the medal itself.”
“I will take my mom's medal to school and show it to all my friends,” said Lakshay, who is studying in fourth. When asked whether he too wanted to be an athlete like his mom, “When I grow big like her, I will also win medals,” came the innocent reply.
Krishna will now shift her focus to the Asian Games that are going to be held China this November. Once again, there will be the pain of separation from her child.
“From here I will go straight to Patiala for the Asian Games camp, and I cannot take Lakshay along because he has school. Only after the Asiad will I get to spend some time with him,” she says, with the sorrow only a mother can feel on a day that should be her proudest.