Updated March 21st, 2024 at 13:56 IST

Story of INDIA's unbreakable grit: Domestic worker’s daughter, Amandeep Kaur finds hope in KIUG

Amandeep Kaur clinched the 800m gold with a record time in the Khelo India University Games. This triumph also marked Amandeep's debut in the KIUG.

Amandeep Kaur | Image:KIUG
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For Amandeep Kaur, the Panjab University sensation who clinched the 800m gold with a record time, the Khelo India University Games is not just a competition. She sees this triumph as a stepping stone towards a better life – one that is currently riddled with an unemployed, alcoholic father and a struggling mother, who works as a domestic help with a minimal wage that helps the family of seven meet their basic needs. 

Amandeep’s race at the Khelo India University Games 2023 Ashtalakshmi personified steely determination. Her target was set on the gold – knowing well enough that good performances here could help her ultimately find recognition through the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) developmental scheme, which aids athletes’ dreams of representing the country with funding for right training, necessary gear, and stipends. 

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“My goal extends beyond winning medals and breaking records; it's about securing a place in TOPS, not just for my personal growth as an athlete, but also perhaps rid my family of financial burden,” said Amandeep.

The middle-distance runner pursuing Bachelor of Arts degree, has etched her name in history by setting a new Games record – a remarkable 2:06.27s that eclipsed the previous record held by international Harmilan Kaur Bains, who clocked a time of 2:06.40s in the first edition of KIUG in Odisha. 

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This triumph also marked Amandeep's debut in the KIUG, adding another layer of significance to her meteoric rise. Just prior to this, the 21-year-old athlete secured a silver medal in the 800m run at the 3rd National Open U-23 Athletics Championships in 2023.

Amandeep’s recent success is not just about personal glory, but a chance to uplift her family and provide them with the support they desperately need. 

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“Doing well in sports today, brings better opportunities and even a chance to get a job. The weight of financial responsibility rests on my mother's shoulders, and my determination comes from the desire to alleviate that burden. For me running isn't just a sport; it's a commitment to change the course of my family's story and ensure bright future for all of us," she asserted.

The seeds of Amandeep's athletic journey were sown at the age of 13 while she was still in school. However, it was only 10 months ago that she made the life-altering decision to pursue athletics seriously, entering the Punjab State Institute of Sports’ Centre of Excellence (Athletics) in Dasuya. 

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Under the guidance of coach Deepak Kumar, who is not only her mentor but also takes care of her basic training expenses, Amandeep has been sculpting her raw talent into a force to be reckoned with.

"While I'm grateful for the gold medal and setting a Games record in my maiden Khelo India University Games, my satisfaction doesn't lie in my timing alone. I know my capabilities, and I believe there's room for improvement. This victory is just the beginning—I'm determined to push beyond my limits, break more records, and reach greater heights,” Amandeep confidently said.

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Published March 1st, 2024 at 19:26 IST