Rupal Chaudhary, a daughter of a small-time farmer, created history by becoming the first Indian athlete to win two medals at the World U-20 Athletics Championship as she followed up her 4x400m relay silver with a bronze medal in the women’s 400m in Cali.
Hailing from a family with modest means in Shahpur Jainpur village in UP’s Meerut district, the 17-year-old has been in incredible form having run as many as four 400m races in just three days.
Rupal clocked 51.85 seconds to finish third behind Yemi Mary John (51.50) of Great Britain and Damaris Mutunga (51.71) of Kenya on Thursday night.
On Tuesday, she won a silver as part of the 4x400m relay quartet that finished second behind the USA with an Asian junior record time of 3:17.76s. On the same day, she ran her individual 400m first-round heat before featuring in the semi-finals on Wednesday and final on Thursday. She ran her personal best time twice in the championships, first a 52.27s in the semi-finals before bettering it in the final.
Earlier this year, Rupal stunned pre-race favourite Priya Mohan of Karnataka to clinch the gold medal in the women’s 400m at the National U-20 Federation Cup Athletics Championships here on Friday.
Rupal is the second Indian to have won a medal in the women’s 400m after Hima Das clinched a historic gold in the 2018 edition of the championships in Finland with a time of 51.46s. Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra was the first Indian to win a gold in the championships in 2016 in Poland.
Rupal’s bronze is India’s ninth medal overall from the championships, which were earlier known as World Junior Championships. In the last edition in Nairobi in 2021, India won three medals — 2 silver, and 1 bronze.