For Jyothi Yarraji, now is the time “to remember all those who helped” her scale the summit on the track and field as she prepares for her maiden Asian Games later this month in China where she will be competing in 100m hurdles and 200m events.
First and foremost, the 23-year-old Jyothi would want to thank the former Asian relay medallist H.M. Jyothi as the latter was the first to ‘mentor’ her ever since they first met in Guntur in 2018. She instilled the belief that made the young athlete, six years ago, look far beyond the inter-district meet performances.
“Jyothi akka is the biggest inspiration for me. I just can’t imagine what life would have been without her great support. Obviously, she had belief in my abilities before anyone else could even had a look at me,” the young champion said in a chat with The Hindu from the ongoing national camp in Kerala.
“Yes, there are many, and most notable are Ramesh sir (N. Ramesh of SAI, Hyderabad, in 2015) and the British coach James Hillier Miller at the Odisha Reliance Athletics High-Performance Centre in Bhubaneswar (where she moved in 2019), all those fellow athletes and support staff who have been constantly reminding me about my ability to raise the bar,” she explained.
Brushing aside the disappointment of finishing seventh in the heats in the recent Worlds in Budapest, where she clocked 13.05, compared to her national record of 12.78, Jyothi is now more focussed on the next big goal – winning a medal in the Asian Games.
“Well, at the Asian Games, the competition will be really tough and I am conscious of the need to raise the bar”Jyothi Yarraji
“Honestly, I am not feeling any pressure ahead of my maiden Asiad. Let me see how things shape up when we reach the venue. But, I am ready for any kind of challenge,” she added
Part of the bigger picture
“I look at this Asiad as part of the bigger picture of making it to the Olympics. So, the objective is to keep improving,” she said.
“I have been working on some technical aspects to ensure the desired all-round improvement,” Jyothi added.
“I Just cannot say this or that has been my best performance. For, I am not the one to sit back on past achievements. I am determined to record better timings every time I run,” she said with a big smile.