Punjabi University athlete Harmilan Kaur Bains has qualified to compete in the 1,500-metre race at Poland’s junior world championship this June and Vietnam’s junior Asian tournament in July.
At the 14th Federation Cup National Junior Athletics Championship in Bengaluru, she clocked 4.28.05 seconds in the 1,500-metre event and 2.11.73 seconds in 800m to be the only Punjab athlete to win two silver medals. The 1,500m qualifying mark for the world junior championship was 4.28.20. In 800m, she was just two seconds off the benchmark. She qualifies for both events in the Asian championship.
Parental guidance brought her into this sport in school, where she set 800M and 1,500m national records in the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) Tournament with a timing of 2 minutes 15 seconds and 4 minutes 41seconds, respectively. “My dream is to stand on the Olympics podium and my eye is on the next meet,” said Harmilan, who has joined the bachelor-of-arts course at Punjabi University, Patiala.
She is thankful to her parents for all the support in her sporting career. “From childhood, they showed me the right path. I also thank my coach who is preparing me for tougher challenges,” says the girl from Mahilpur in Hoshiarpur district, where she was born in a family of athletes. Her father, Amandeep Bains, and mother, Madhuri Bains, were international athletes. Her father took the 1,500m silver medal at South Asian Games in 1996, while her mother picked the 800m silver medal at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea. She has also received Arjuna Award.
“We always shared our experience with her. It was a proud moment for us when she set the national junior records. We travel with her for motivation and support and have always taken care of her diet since childhood,” said Madhuri. Harmilan is under the tutelage of Kochar Singh Patiyal at the Dharamshala centre of the Sports Authority of India (SAI). Earlier, SS Bhatia of Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports in Patiala has groomed her.
“If she runs at full pace, I am sure she will finish with a medal in the upcoming international events,.” said Bhatia. Punjabi University sports director Raj Kumar Sharma said her qualifyin g of the two international meets was a proud moment for the institutions.