“The girls in my village spent their time learning how to do all kinds of household chores. I don’t even know how to fire up a hearth or make rotis. But I know how to throw a javelin.”
Annu grew up knowing she didn’t want what other girls wanted. She had no desire to learn to cook or get married early. She wanted to get out into the world and do more. Annu picked up the sport quickly and today, at the age of 24, has broken her own national record multiple times, to push her limits higher. It was 2014 when she first broke the existing national record of 58.83 m at the National Inter-State Championship. Later in the same year, she’d broken it again bagging the bronze at Asian Games in Incheon with a throw of 59.53 m. 2015 was a bad year for Annu as her coach started to worry she was pushing herself too much and would end up injuring herself.
The following year, Annu made a strong comeback, beating her own record for the third time with a throw of 60.01 m at the Open National Athletics Championship. This marked the first time that an Indian woman was crossing the 60 m threshold. This year, the javelin throwing champion outdid herself yet again, recording a throw of 61.8 m at the Federation Cup National Senior Athletics Championship.
During her training, her throws reach as far as 63 m, a rung below the bronze and silver medallists at the javelin throw event at Rio Olympics 2016, who threw a distance of 64-65 m.
Annu is a headstrong girl who fearlessly goes for what she wants. She started out with her brother’s help, who paid for her training. She made her first javelin with a long piece of bamboo because she couldn’t afford a real one. She travelled 13 km to practice in an empty ground. Initially, her father, a farmer, would shake his head in disapproval, declaring that girls had no business playing sports, echoing what the villagers would often whisper.
Unperturbed, Annu focused on her sport and did not let naysayers stop her. Her father let her train but never actually believed in her potential, until she broke a national record. He realised the immense talent Annu possessed and today, struggles hard to support her dream.
Now she even has a coach, the former javelin throwing champion, Kashinath Naik. She throws the javelin over 80 times a day. Injuries are a common occurrence, she says, but her passion for the sport causes her to pay no heed. She does intense weight training: lifting 180 kgs to help build her physique to throw a 600g javelin. She practices with a heavier javelin now and manages to throw at a distance of 64 m during her training sessions - matching one of the best throws at the Olympics.
Annu has not been home in a year. She refuses to go home until she can bring a medal along, and continues training endlessly. On a regular day at practice, she already makes throws good enough to win at an Olympic event and is confident she can make it to the podium, once she is given a chance.
Here’s how you can empower Annu:
1) Fund Annu Rani’s training, travel and equipment costs by contributing generously to this fundraiser
2) Share the fundraiser with your friends and family on social media, Whatsapp or email
3) Start a Support Fundraiser to pool in money from your friends, family, colleagues and others in your network
Empower Our Record Breaking Javelin Thrower!