While she always thought she was worthy of the award, Sudha Singh the 34-year-old veteran long distance runner from Raebareli in Uttar Pradesh was completely surprised when her name featured in this year’s list of Padma Shri recipients. In an interview with PTI, Singh said, “I was a bit surprised when I got the news that I have been awarded Padma Shri. I deserved to win it but you never know [if] you will get it or not. I am grateful to the UP chief minister for nominating me.”
Singh has participated in two Olympics, two world Championships, three Asian Games, and four Asian Championships, and has now joined an exclusive list of Padma Shri awardees, the names of which include Milkha Singh, Anju Bobby George, and PT Usha, to name a few.
Singh further added, “I have won a lot of laurels at the international level since a bronze in 2005. I feel the award is recognition of my hard work and dedication in the last 15 years. Surely, winning the award is one of the biggest moments in my life.”
Singh’s greatest achievement has been bagging gold at the 2010 Asian Games. In 2018, Singh brought home silver at the same event. She’s also added gold in the 2017 Asian Championships besides three silver medals in 2009, 2011, and 2013, respectively, to her name.
Singh is currently training to qualify for the Tokyp Olympics at Bengaluru's Sports Authority of India Centre. “I want to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in marathon; [the] 3000m steeplechase is not my priority now as far as Olympics qualification is concerned,” she told PTI. Incidentally, Singh is also going to participate in the New Delhi Marathon in March. At the event, she is “targeting Olympics qualification.” She also wants to break the national record.
Singh has a marathon personal best of 2:34.56 seconds, a record she clocked when she finished 10th in the 2019 Mumbai Marathon. The qualification time for the Tokyo Olympics is 2:29.30 while the national record stands at 2:34:43 as achieved by OP Jaisha.
Image Courtesy: Instagram/Sudha Singh (@sudhasingh3000msc)