Anjana Thamke: One for the future
Anjana Thamke born on 16 November 1997 (age 16) is an Indian athlete from Nashik. Hailing from impoverishment in a remote village in Nashik , Anjana’s training began when she had to jog seven kilometres to school every day. Her passion for mid-distance running started when she started to take part in the village school athletics competitions. Born in Ganeshgaon, a village 42 kilometers away from Nashik, in November of 1997, the middle-distance runner’s story did not start off with training sessions and a commitment to the sport. With both parents, Dhavalu and Nandabai, working as farmers, she and her younger brother Sachin were often called to assist them in the rice field.
The effect of the strenuous work was that it started building up her stamina, an occurrence oblivious to the young prodigy. What also helped is the fact that she used to run around 12 kilometers a day just to get to school and back home. From there on Anjana started to impress her teachers who later on encouraged her to take part in district events.
While in sixth standard at the Zilla Prathamik Vidyalaya, she developed keen interest in kabaddi and started participating in the sport. But her first inclination towards middle-distance running came after she was enrolled in a village school athletics competition.She was introduced to her first pair of spikes when she began training at the Bhonsala Military School (BMS) in Nashik in 2011. The school’s 400 meter mud track soon became her own as her training reflected in her dominating the junior division record books in the 800 meter and 1500 meter national events, with the former being her preferred format. In order to fulfill her training, Thamke spends a significant amount of time away from home. It was in 2011 that Anjana caught the eye of Vijender Singh, a Sports Authority of India (SAI) accredited coach. Under the dedicated tutelage of coach Vijender Singh, she has gone from strength to strength, over-achieving her way to success in the junior Indian athletics circuit. She is the one athlete who competes in the400 metres , 800 metres and 1500 metres event. Anjana Thamke is supported by Anglian Medal Hunt Company.
When Tintu Luka became the first and only Indian woman to break the two minute mark in the 800 meter middle-distance running event, clocking at one minute and 59 seconds, it became a record expected to go unchallenged for a long time. Three years after the record was set, 16 year old Anjana Thamke has put forward a claim to better that timing. After a stellar performance at the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, China, Thamke won the gold in the 800 meter event by beating her closest opponent by three seconds. The impressive feat has showered her with further awards and set a clock ticking against Luka’s record.
Anjana was adjudged ‘Best Athlete’ in the National Junior Athletics Championship, 2012, under the U-16 category. Anjana also won three gold medals at the 24th All India Track and Field Juniors Tournament at Balewadi in Pune (2012). She bagged Gold in the 1500m and 400m run in the U-17 section of the National School Games. In 2011, Anjana won Gold, meeting the record in the U-19 section of the 56th National School Games. Anjana Thamke bagged a gold medal in the 800 metres event at the 2013 Asian Youth Games held in Nanjing. She also won two gold medals at the Asian School Meet in Malaysia in the 800 metres event and the 4×400 relay. It feels a pride for Nashik to have such a bright rising star in the city and that too a woman.