Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Keonjhar, Jan 8:
This 17-year-old athlete from Odisha’s Keonjhar district aspires to represent India at highest level and bring laurels for the state like ace sprinter Dutee Chand. However, financial crunch has posed a hurdle for Shantilata Mohanta, daughter of a poor daily wage labourer.
The teen athlete doesn’t have a sports trainer, training equipment and no one to guide her. Despite this, the 3000-metre runner bagged fourth position in the National School Competition held in Jammu and Kashmir on December 6 which was organised by Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Earlier, she had also participated in National athletics meet in under-16 category.
She has been participating in competitions since she was in class 6 and has won over 100 awards till now.
She helps her father, Ramesh Mohanta, in the fields and mother with cooking, yet she dreams of becoming the second Dutee Chand in Odisha.
Shantilata is a resident of Sendakap village under Gobardhan panchayat of Sadar block in the district. Her mother passed away when she was 3-year-old. She has been raised by her step mother, Rukmani, who has encouraged her to take up sports.
Buoyed by her parents encouragement, she is optimistic about her dreams, her only Achilles heel being funding.