Haryana's Summy Kaliravan is all set to make National Games history well before the curtain goes up here on September 29. The sprinter will become first female athlete to compete for Services in National Games’ track competitions, after being recruited under the new sports policy of Indian Army.
There are, however, several other women in the Services squad, including trap shooter Seema Tomar, who won gold for Services in the 2015 National Games in Kerala, Rifle markswoman Capt. Harshita Dahiya, Pistol shooter Maj. Anuja Verma and Compound Archer Arti Joshi.
The Army’s Mission Olympic Wing, empowered by the Chief of Army Staff Gen. Manoj Pande, opened the doors to sportswomen and ParaSport athletes recently. Nineteen-year-old 400m runner has been absorbed into the Corps of Military Police.
Summy has represented India in World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi and Cali and has a personal best of 53.57 seconds.
With the induction of women’s sports talent, the Army hopes to evolve into a powerhouse in both women's and mixed categories, which constitute about 60 per cent of medals on offer in major competitions. The decision will spur more women athletes to join the Army and to use its state-of-the-art training facilities to win medals for the country.
Summy is looking forward to winning a medal on debut for Services. “I was recruited because of sports, and I want to make sure I win medals under the Services banner. It is a great privilege for me and my family. I always heard about the National Games but now taking part in the Games is a dream come true,” she said from her training base in Army Sports Institute in Pune.
Maj. Arti Singh, who moved from Judo to Compound Archery, said she is honoured to be a Services team member for the first time. “It’s a proud moment for me,” she said from her base in Meerut. She will take a crack at the Individual medal as well as the Mixed Team medal with Hav. Robert or Hav. Arjun.
Maj. Anuja Verma will represent Services in the 25m Pistol competition. “I am happy to make it to the National Games,” says the markswoman from her training location in Mhow. Capt. Harshita Dahiya, who will compete in the 10m Air Rifle events, echoed the same sentiment and looked forward to a good outcome.