“I’ve been a national athlete for 7 years. It was seeing people around me who participated in events and won medals that made me want to do it too. As early as class 6, I participated in my first running events at school. I stood 4th in the 3000 m event and 3rd in the 1500 m, and just like that, I knew I could do it. So I took part in a cross-country marathon of 8 km. I came in second. I felt like I could really do something, especially if I got the right training. On seeking training, the president here told me I could come and they’d help me. At home, my father helped train me. He is a soldier and is very strong and athletic. He is also a training instructor for the cadets so as part of my training, I was made to run with the army cadets early in the morning. I was extremely good at running. Sometimes I even left those grown men behind. This gained me the interest of my father’s colleagues who then encouraged me to go as far as I could.

There were times when I fell behind, almost gave up and felt tired. But I always got back on the horse. I tried cycling and even joined a football club. But running was what interested me the most so I stuck to it. As a national athlete in class 9 and 10, I ran in many events and won many medals. I started making videos about my athletic journey which naturally attracted people who said I was doing it for the fame. Envy is common. You need to not let it get to you. Besides there are more important moments: like when my father awarded me my medal on one of the first events he came to watch. He dreams for me to become a military person just like him. I used to want to be a professional athlete but I could probably do a lot more as a soldier, so I share his dream. People say, ‘Girls can’t hike, girls can’t cycle properly, girls can’t be strong athletes’. But there are talented and strong girls in all corners of our country. We are often scared about what people will say when we wear shorts or run around the sports field. But trust me, if you have something special about you, you need to take the chance. Harbour all of your strengths. There is no better feeling than doing what you’re good at.”

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