Pooja, the wonderkid from Haryana, who won two gold medals in the shot put (12.88m) and discus (41.01m) events for girls at the first Khelo India School Games follows in the glorious tradition of champion women throwers coming out of Haryana. For long athletes such as Manpreet Kaur, Krishna Poonia and Seema Antil have dominated the women’s throwing scene in India. Soon it will be her time.

It all started in Charkhi, Haryana, for the class nine student of Government Girl Senior Secondary School, when she got inspired by her sister who was a javelin thrower and was fascinated by seeing the spear travelling over long through the air. However, unlike her sister, she started with discus before taking up shot put as well. It took just six months after starting out to pursue the two sports seriously.

Once she started training under her present coach, Ved Prakash, a former Asian Games gold medallist, her technique improved as did the distances. Despite her burning desire to excel in sports, she doesn’t neglect her studies unlike some athletes of her age. Always considered a bright student, she makes it a point to study a few chapters even after a hard day’s training.

For Pooja, the two-time Olympic and World Champion, Sandra Perkovic, is the inspiration at the international level. She wants to emulate the 27-year-old Croatian. Coming into the first Khelo India School Games, Pooja already won gold medals in shot put and discus events in the 33rd Junior National Championships in the under-16 category. Now she has set her sights on winning in the 15th National Youth Athletics Championships to be held in Vadodara in July 2018.