Harshita Sehrawat: Never afraid of competition

Hammer thrower Harshita Sehrawat, only 16, hopes to improve with each and every competition and wishes to break more records.

Harshita has set a target to qualify for the 2022 Asian and Commonwealth Games.   -  Anant Kaur

Age: 16

From: New Delhi

Education: Class XI

Discipline: Hammer Throw

When 16-year old Delhi-girl Harshita Sehrawat steps on the hammer throw pit, her cool and calm demeanour helps her to perform consistently. Hailing from Kair gaon near Najafgarh, Harshita is the current under-18 junior national record holder with a throw of 61.93m set at Asian Youth Athletics Championships in Hong Kong in March 2019.

Two-time Olympian Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, a former hurdler and a gold medallist in decathlon at the 1962 Asian Games, saw Harshita’s performances and selected her in the DDA scheme two years ago. “Her anatomical structure was right for the hammer. Her fighting spirit, determination and will to do well, are her assets,” observes Randhawa.

Harshita’s power was first noticed by her father Sunil Sehwarat’s friend during the local shot put and discus competitions in 2014. She used to be a sprinter, too. She learnt the technique from her father’s friend.

Harshita also holds the Khelo India record at 58.53m. After setting a record in the All India National School Games at 61.84m, Harshita said, “I am not too happy when I make records as I consider it just a step towards achieving greater things in life. I try to focus on getting better with each throw.” A fact that underlines Harshita’s resilience is that she set the record just one and a half months after an ankle injury.

In early November 2019, Harshita made a strong comeback from a hairline fracture on her left ankle, suffered two days before the junior national trials. Despite a bandaged feet, she qualified. Once the plaster was removed, she practised for a week and set a new national meet record of 59.35m in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh.

“I didn’t stop the practice completely. I was only concerned about my throw — how far can I throw now. I talk to myself and try to control myself by being calm. My parents and coaches supported me throughout. Doing recovery activities like high knee jumping at the pole vault pit, thera band and plate exercises helped me a lot. It took me a month and a half to get back to my best,” revealed the Asia No. 1 in the youth girls category. The special quality she possesses now, according to Randhawa, is her consistency. “She has been with us for over two years now and she is performing consistently well. We will send Harshita and her coach Rajbir Singh to Budapest, Hungary, to train under a foreign coach after her exams,” said Randhawa.

Harshita’s parents have been her pillar of support. Her mother Renu was a State-level football, hockey and handball player. Her father Sunil is a former decathlete and a 400m runner. He always wanted Harshita to become an athlete. “My dreams were shattered due to a pulled hamstring; now after 12 years, I want them to be fulfilled by my daughter. I was firm on showing her athletics either on TV or YouTube. I only taught her positive things and kept her away from negative things.”

Harshita hopes to improve with each and every competition. She wishes to break more records. “I have never missed watching any hammer competition and I am motivated by Poland’s Anita Wlordarczyk, the world record holder in women’s hammer throw. If she can break records in her 30s, I’m much younger and have a long way to go,” opined Harshita.

Aim: Harshita is looking forward to various competitions in 2020 — Delhi state in March, Junior Federation Nationals in April which will help her qualify for Junior Asian Games in May. Junior National Games in November is also in her sight.

She has also set a target to qualify for the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

Strong Point: “Wherever Harshita goes for the tournaments, she is never afraid of the competition. She rather enjoys it because she is always fully prepared. She is never anxious, but always excited to perform,” says Randhawa.

What they say

Harshita’s father Sunil Sehrawat: Harshita is very dedicated and passionate towards her throwing. At times even in pain she makes it a point to complete her daily regime. Every night before she goes to sleep we discuss about her technique and performances. While going to practice everyday, we make her meditate in the car to feel fresh before she arrives in the pit.