India’s Parul Chaudhary finished 11th in the women’s 3000m steeplechase final at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, on Sunday, but ran the race of her life to set a new National Record and also go past the entry standard for Paris Olympics.
Parul clocked 9:15.31s to break Lalita Babar’s mark of 9:19.76s set during Rio Olympics in 2016 while also finishing comfortably under 9:23.00s, the automatic qualification mark for next year’s Summer Games in the French capital.
Earlier in the preliminary round, Parul ran five seconds faster than her previous personal best (9.29.51) and it helped her finish in fifth place and earn a spot in the final.
Having started the sport on the recommendation of her father – a farmer in the village of Iklauta near Meerut in western UP – Parul’s rise was steady but not meteoric. Although she became part of the national camp in 2016, it took her another three years to win her first national title in the 5000m, as a 24-year-old, in 2019.
In recent years, she has benefited significantly from the coaching programme set by American coach Nick Simmons. She set a new National record in the 5000m earlier this year and won gold in the 3000m steeplechase at the Asian Championships this year.
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