Jyothi Yarraji: Fully focused on winning a medal at Commonwealth Games

Jyothi Yarraji grabbed the attention by breaking the national record thrice during her recent European exposure tour.

FILE PHOTO - Jyothi Yarraji training at the SAAP centre of excellence on Acharya Nagarjuna University campus in Guntur on September 13, 2019.

FILE PHOTO - Jyothi Yarraji training at the SAAP centre of excellence on Acharya Nagarjuna University campus in Guntur on September 13, 2019. | Photo Credit: T. Vijaya Kumar

Jyothi Yarraji grabbed the attention by breaking the national record thrice during her recent European exposure tour.

It has been a truly memorable journey for hurdler Jyothi Yarraji who will be representing India for the first time in the Commonwealth Games this month-end in Birmingham.

“I am slightly nervous and at the same time excited about the Games,” said Jyothi, the 100m hurdles national record-holder with a timing of 13.04 seconds.

“I am more confident now. Determined to keep improving and clock sub-13 to make a huge impact in the Games,” the 22-year-old said in a chat with Sportstar from Bhubaneshwar, where she is training under Britain’s James Hillier at the Reliance Odisha Athletics High-Performance Centre.

The five-foot, nine-inch athlete, who grabbed the attention by breaking the national record thrice during her recent European exposure tour, said the aim was to show the desired consistency as the Games come closer.

“Honestly, I am not sounding over-confident or complacent. The chances of winning a medal look very good and I am fully focussed on that immediate goal,” said Jyothi, who also owes a lot to SAI athletics coach N. Ramesh and the Gopi Chand Mytrah Foundation for helping her in a big way.

“It was Ramesh sir who introduced me to hurdles and he takes so much interest and always follows my career,” said the hurdler, who will be the only Andhra athlete to be there for the CWG. “Definitely, there is a need to improve speed and strength and the preparations are really good,” she added.

"She is a very intelligent athlete and always loves the competition to be really tough to give her best," said Ramesh.

“I look at the subject the other way. If I keep doing better, the job opportunities will be better,” said Jyothi, whose father works as a private security guard in Visakhapatnam.

“Frankly, I never thought that I would be representing the country in the Commonwealth Games so early, being a late starter in athletics at the age of 17. But, fortunately, everything fell in place, and thanks to my father’s great support,” said Jyothi.

Although she started athletics late, Jyothi draws inspiration from Jamaican sprint legend Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who has recently become the World Champion for the fifth time in Oregon.

“If she can do it at 35, why not we make at least a serious effort to make an impact,” signed off a confident Jyothi.

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