Gujarat's 20-year-old Ajeet Kumar Yadav started his campaign at the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) 2020 by successfully defending his gold medal in the Under-21 Boys 5000m run category as he finished with a timing of 14:39.99, on the back of stiff competition by Madhya Pradesh's duo of Sunil Dawar (14:40.00) and Bahadur Patel (14:41.52).
Yadav had won gold medals in both the 1500m and 5000m track and field events at the KIYG last year. Gujarat's Reena Patel, Drashtiben Pravinbhai Chaudhri and Nirma Asari also bagged one silver medal each to make it a successful first day at the athletics' track for the state.
Ajeet, who started his career from the Lucknow Sports College in Uttar Pradesh in 2012 at the age of 13, and then shifted to an academy in Devgadh Baria in Gujarat to pursue his dreams, reacted to his victory and said: "It was a very close race for me and I had not been training with the correct spikes for this race. I have other targets in mind, and have been practicing for that in the build-up to the Khelo India Games. Had I trained with the correct spikes which is required particularly for this race, I know I would have finished with a better timing."
Ajeet's father is a farmer and mother is a housewife, and the 20-year-old says he wants to "give them a better standard of life through his performances".
Gujarat's three silver medals were won by Reena Patel in the Under-21 Girls 18-21 5000m Run, Drashtiben Pravinbhai Chaudhri in the Under-17 Girls 15-17 3000m Run and Nirma Asari in the Under-17 Girls 15-17 Long Jump.