Published: 18th August 2021
After Neeraj Chopra, this young javelin star from Udipi could be the next athlete to bring home an Olympic medal
Karishma Sanil could well be the next Neeraj Chopra. We speak to the javelin star about her journey and how she has been prepping to be part of the next Olympics
In 2014, when Karishma Sanil participated in the javelin throw event held during the Dasara games in Udupi, she won a gold for throwing the javelin 28 metres away. She recalls, "I was more into discus throw and shot put and had never really tried my hand at the javelin. But that day, my friends and coach encouraged me to participate in the sport and I won it too. Soon after, my coach Jagadish K began training me for the javelin throw."
Karishma, originally from Barkur in Udupi, has been into sports for a long time — kabbadi, shot put, discus throw and volleyball. "I was in Class IX when I started training in javelin throw. In 2015, I won gold in a state-level competition. In the same year, I won a silver medal in a national-level competition held at Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, for throwing a distance of 37 metres. Then, I participated in another national-level competition organised by the School Games Federation of India in the same year and won a gold medal," Karishma tells us while we listen in awe.
In the past six years, Karishma has won several silver and gold medals, even at the international level. But she credits her coaches for her success. She says, "I was trained by different coaches at different times. Jagadish K and Manjunath Shetty trained me well in discus, shot put and javelin throw. In 2016, I qualified to play at the World School Athletics Championship held in Turkey, my first international competition. When I was in PU I in 2016, I was introduced to Satyanarayana Nayak who trained me for almost four years. I went on to win the first place in the South Zone National Athletics Championship by throwing Javelin at a distance of 47.25 metres and broke the 44.74 metres record of Anitha Chandy, second place in the National Junior Federation Athletics Championship (U-20) and a few medals in the competitions held at the university level. I achieved three records at the state level in three different years when I was trained by him." Sadly, Satyanarayana passed away in 2020.
Karishma practices both in the morning and evening hours
In 2020, Karishma participated in a national-level competition in Punjab and that's where she was introduced to her current coach Kashinath Naik, a bronze medallist for javelin throw at the Commonwealth Games. "He is a javelin coach for many youngsters like me. Since Satyanarayana's demise, Coach Kashinath has been training me. Currently, he is a javelin coach at the Indian Army camp in Pune. As it is an army camp for men, women are not allowed inside the campus. Therefore, I have been taking online coaching from Kashinath. Every day, he sends me a document that has details of the workout sessions that I must follow. I record them both in the morning and the evening. Each workout session is about two and a half hours. Sometimes, I use a tripod to record and other times, Rajaram Naik helps me record my sessions. He is a Physical Education teacher at Barali Government School in Udupi. Once I send these recordings to Coach Kashinath, he advises me if I'm doing it right or not," says the now 21-year-old.
Pandemic or not, Karishma says that she doesn't have access to a proper playground or the proper infrastructure to practise her sport. She says, "There is a 400-metre track, gym and other facilities in Brahmavar but due to some clashes between the private and government departments, we were told that local athletes are not allowed to use the private college's playground. Rajaram suggested that I practise in a government school playground where there are no restrictions for me, which is great, but it becomes tough during rainy days."
She is currently studying BSc at LVD College in Raichur district
Next, Karishma will be participating in the 60th National Open Athletics Championship in the Under-23 category, which will be held in Warangal from September 19. And then there is the 1st National U-23 Athletic Championship in Chennai from September 27. There is also the National Javelin Championship from October 1 onwards in Delhi. "I am preparing to participate in all these competitions. My coach has been encouraging me and training for the next Olympics. I hope to participate and win a medal for India," says Karishma, all set to channel her inner Neeraj Chopra.