BORN TO RUN: Lalita Babar has been running barefoot from the age of six
BORN TO RUN: Lalita Babar has been running barefoot from the age of six

Lalita Babar named Sports Person of the Year

Lalita Babar, a long-distance runner from India was this week named as the Sports Person of the Year in the annual India Sports Awards.

When she was six-years-old, Babar would run barefoot every morning to her school that was nearly four kilometres away from her house in Mohi, a small village in Satara.

Her parents couldn’t afford a pair of shoes for her as they were living on a farmer’s wage.

Babar’s early hardships turned out to be a training-in-disguise which would eventually make her into the athlete she is today.

Babar qualified for the Rio Olympics recently in the 3000m steeplechase event and is the current Indian national record holder.

She also won a bronze medal in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and is the current Asian champion.

The Indian Sports Awards were presented in New Delhi at the end of day one of ‘Turf 2015-16’, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) with the support of the Sports Ministry.

In August 2015, Lalita made history when she competed in Beijing and became the first track athlete from India to reach the final round in the IAAF World Championships.

Besides Babar, gymnast Dipa Karmakar was named as the Breakthrough Sports Person of the Year while Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India was conferred with the Best National Sports Federation recognition.

The Lifetime Achievement award was bestowed upon hockey legend Balbir Singh.