Dhanalakshmi, the sprinter from Tamil Nadu now needs no introduction. In the last few weeks, she was in the news for beating Dutee Chand and Hima Das and for breaking the 23 years record held by P T Usha in 200 M. The latest sensation in Indian Athletics, Dhalakshami beat the two leading Indian Athletes at the 24th Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championships held in Patiala.
Twenty two year old Dhanalakshmi is also credited with breaking the record of Usha, which was set even before her birth. She was a sensation not only in the 200 M event but also clinched the gold in the 100 M event at the Federation Cup Championships. She beat Asian games Silver medallist Dutee at the championships.
A humble beginning
Never had she thought she could beat Dutee Chand or Hima Das. The Athletic sensation comes from Gundur Village near Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu. She comes from a poor family and had to fight constantly with poverty to reach the pinnacles. She lost her father at a young age and the entire family depended on her mother. Her mother worked as a domestic help.
While studying at Alava’s College in Mangalore, she started playing Kho Kho. However, her coach M Manikandan Arumugam, a former Tamil Nadu sprinter, saw that she was not at sports and asked her to try athletics.
In 2017, Bhagayalakshmi began training under Arumugam at the Rockfort Stars Academy. He even helped her with food, nutrition, and coaching. Within a year, results came out when she won a gold medal in the 200m at the Inter Universities championships in Mangalore. Later in 2018, she finished third in both 100m and 200m at the Tamil Nadu State Championships held in Tirunelveli. Her first major breakthrough came when she overtook erstwhile National Open 100m champion A Chandralekha in a university meet at Tiruchirappalli.
2019 was a busy year for the sprinter. She won the bronze medal in the 200m in the Federation Cup in Patiala was followed by her first overseas meet at Pezenas, France, where she clinched the gold medal in 200m and silver in 100m.
She also ran at the 2019 Universiade in Napoli but failed to progress beyond the heats. It was also her first B category event. At the 2019 Inter-State Championships in Lucknow, Dhanalakshmi got the bronze in the 200m event and was a part of the Tamil Nadu team which won gold in the 4x100m relay.