India’s Athlete Parul Chaudhary pulled off a sensational comeback to win the gold medal in the women’s 5000m event at the 2023 Asian Games on Tuesday. The 28-year-old long distance runner delivered when it mattered most, sprinting past Japan’s Ririka Hironaka in the final stretch to clinch the thrilling victory.
Chaudhary’s golden run caps off a fairytale week for the athlete from Uttar Pradesh. Remarkably, this was her second medal of the Games, after winning a silver in the 3000m steeplechase just a day earlier.
The 5000m final was a cat-and-mouse affair, with Chaudhary biding her time behind the leading pack for most of the race. However, she turned on the jets when it mattered most, putting in a dazzling final lap to leave her rivals in the dust.
Parul Chaudhary’s Sensational Final Lap Seals Gold
The 5000m final shaped up to be a tight contest between Chaudhary and Japan’s Hironaka. The duo matched each other stride for stride for much of the race as they gradually opened up a gap over the rest of the field.
Golden Girl Parul Chaudhary makes India Proud with this sensational finish in the Women’s 5000m. 🥇 pic.twitter.com/UcRMazSu0S— K.Annamalai (@annamalai_k) October 3, 2023
Hironaka looked destined for gold as the duo entered the home straight in the final lap. However, Chaudhary had other plans. With about 150m to go, the Indian athlete suddenly found an extra gear. She put in a remarkable late charge, eating up the gap to Hironaka rapidly with her long strides.
The Japanese runner had no response to Chaudhary’s stunning burst of speed. In the final few steps, Chaudhary powered past Hironaka to clinch a famous gold medal for India. She won in a time of 15:14.75, just 0.59 seconds ahead of the Japanese athlete.
Athlete Parul Chaudhary Completes Steeplechase-5000m Asian Games Double
Chaudhary’s 5000m gold comes less than 24 hours after she won a silver medal in the 3000m steeplechase event on Monday. Her stellar long distance running double at the Asian Games caps off a breakout year for the athlete.
The 28-year-old expressed her delight at winning gold after settling for silver in the steeplechase. “Since I was not able to win a gold medal in steeplechase, I wanted to get a gold in 5000m. God was kind enough tonight,” she said after her triumph.
Chaudhary also revealed that clinching the gold medal could help her land a Deputy Superintendent of Police job in her home state of Uttar Pradesh. This underscores what a historic achievement this is for both her and Indian athletics.
Chaudhary’s Victory Caps Off Productive Day for India in Athletics
India enjoyed a hugely successful day on the track and field, raking in a total of 6 medals across 8 events on Tuesday. Chaudhary’s gold was the highlight, but other Indian athletes also stepped up.
Tejaswin Shankar claimed a silver in the men’s high jump, while Mohammed Afsal also grabbed a silver in the men’s 800m event. Praveen Chithravel added to India’s medal haul with a bronze in the men’s triple jump.
The glut of medals indicates the rising standards of Indian athletics. After decades of disappointment, the country’s track and field stars are finally realizing their potential on the big stage.
Parul Chaudhary’s Journey from Humble Beginnings to Asian Glory
Chaudhary’s Asian Games triumph is made even more remarkable by her humble origins. She was born in 1995 to a farming family in the village of Iklauta in Western Uttar Pradesh.
She took up running by chance after being asked to participate in a school race without any training. Chaudhary won the 800m event barefoot, displaying her raw talent.
.@Media_SAI Exclusive🔥— SAI Media (@Media_SAI) October 3, 2023
Catch the #Golden Reaction of Parul Chaudhary after she delivers a royal performance at #AsianGames2022
Listen in🔉 NOW & let's congratulate Parul together 🥳#Cheer4India#HallaBol#JeetegaBharat#BharatAtAG22 @ianuragthakur @NisithPramanik… pic.twitter.com/7sQKlJCvUG
She gradually progressed to longer distances like 1500m and 3000m. Now, she holds the national record in three events – 3000m, 5000m and 3000m steeplechase.
From running barefoot in school to winning Asian Games gold, Chaudhary’s journey has been inspirational. She is sure to inspire a new generation of Indian distance runners.
What Next for India’s New Long Distance Star?
After her sensational Asian Games double, Chaudhary will be keen to carry her form into 2023 and beyond. Her immediate target will be qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
According to her coach Scott Simmons, Chaudhary is now at a ‘world-class level’ as a distance runner. He believes she can qualify for the 5000m event at the Paris Olympics at the 2023 Indoor World Championships.
Beyond Paris, the sky seems to be the limit for the 28-year-old. She still has several years left in her career to conquer even greater heights. For now, Chaudhary can revel in her historic Asian Games gold – a triumph few Indian athletes have achieved.