Gujarat-based long-distance runner Murli Gavit, 26, was over the moon after winning the half marathon, clocking 01:05:20s. Haryana’s Ankit Deshwal finished second (01:05:48) while Kolhapur’s Dipak Kumbhar won the bronze (01:05:51). Gavit, who received a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, heaved a sigh of relief as he can now repay the Rs 55,000 loan he has taken from his friends to purchase running shoes and for other expenses.
“This prize money is a huge financial boost since I hail from a very poor background. My elder brother [Tukaram] is a farmer while my parents are daily wage workers. I cannot even afford to buy a good pair of running shoes. Last year, I borrowed Rs 55,000 from some of my friends to purchase running shoes and for some other expenses. I’m glad that I can now repay them with this prize money,” Gavit told mid-day on Sunday.
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Interestingly, Saputara-based Gavit is a national medallist. He won the 10,000m bronze at the 2019 Doha Asian Athletics Championships, and used to receive financial assistance from the Gujarat government. “The Gujarat government used to give me a monthly stipend of R25,000. I got it for two years, but as I didn’t fare well, it was stopped. Now, with this gold medal, I can request them to help me prepare for the Asian Games [Sept 23 to Oct 8] later this year.”