Bhawna Jat is an Indian athlete, known for competing in the 20-kilometre race walk competition. She was the first Indian female athlete in this category to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Bhawna Jat was born on Wednesday, 3 January 1996 (age 26 years; as of 2022) in Kabra, Rajsamand district, Rajasthan. Her zodiac sign is Capricorn. She did her schooling at Neerja Modi School, Rajasthan. She did not attend college because of the poor financial condition of her family.
Height (approx.): 5′ 3″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Bhawna’s father’s name is Shankarlal Jat, who is a farmer.
Bhawna Jat with her father
Her mother’s name is Nosar Devi, who is a homemaker.
Bhawna Jat with her mother
She has two brothers, Prakash Jat and Raju Jat. Raju is suffering from mental illness.
Bhawna Jat with her brother, Prakash Jat
Bhawna is unmarried.
In 2014, she won a gold medal at the west zone junior-level competition and a silver medal in 2015 in the same event. In 2016, she participated in the National Inter-state Championships in Hyderabad where she completed her race at 1:52:38s. In 2021, she participated in the National Open Championships where she broke the national record by clocking at 1:29:54s. She was the fastest Indian female in this category until Priyanka Goswami broke her record on 13 February 2021 in the same event. In 2021, she participated in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and grabbed 32nd position in 20 kilometres race walk.
Bhawna Jat at the Tokyo Olympics
In March 2022, she won a bronze at the World race walking Championship held in Muscat, Oman.
Bhawna Jat at the bronze at the World race walking Championship
In 2022, she withdrew from the Common Wealth Games because she did not train for the event.
She owns a Maruti Suzuki Vitara car.
Bhawna Jat posing with her car
- Bhawna was coached by Gurmukh Sihag and Harpreet Singh.
- When she was thirteen years old, her physical education teacher took her to a district-level athletics competition, where she participated in the competition and came second in the event. In an interview, her PT teacher talked about her and said,
She was grazing her cattle then but asked if she could come. By the time she came to the competition, koi bhi khali event nahi tha (the participation slots of most of the races had been filled up). The only race she could take part in was the 3km race walk. That’s how she became a race walker.”
- According to Bhawna, she used to practice early in the morning to avoid villagers looking at her in shorts.
- In an interview, she said that sometimes she competed barefoot, and sometimes she used to borrow shoes from her friends for her practice sessions.
- In an interview, she revealed that the financial condition of her family was so weak that they lived in a cemented house and did not have money to eat two meals a day.
- In 2016, she started working as a ticket collector on railways in Howrah, West Bengal. She was not given leave for training before the Olympics which is why she had to take leave without pay. In an interview, she said that she had taken Rs. 7 Lakh loan for her brother’s treatment and was worried about paying Rs.16,000 interest on the loan if she continued to be on leave without pay. She further said,
Even as I was training for the nationals, I was also thinking how to pay back the interest of Rs 16,000 each month. On top of that I also had to pay for my own training equipment and boarding. If I didn’t win this competition and qualify for the Olympics, I don’t know what I would have done.”
- In 2017, she could not compete in the Olympics because she suffered from typhoid.
- While she was in Kolkata, she faced many difficulties while practising due to the weather conditions there. In an interview, she talked about her time in Kolkata and said,
I knew that I couldn’t improve in Kolkata because the weather makes it very hard to train and recover.”
- Her elder brother, Prakash Jat, and her father were her biggest supporters. Her brother bought her a new pair of shoes worth Rs. 500 for the first time. He was an athlete but left his passion to fulfill Bhawna’s needs. He worked at a private firm for Rs. 15,000 a month. In an interview, she talked about the support and love from her brother and said,
He was also an athlete but had quit in order to let me focus on my career. This time also he told me not to worry. He only makes about Rs 15,000 a month but he took loans in order to help me out. But there were many other people who told me it was the wrong decision and many people laughed at me. But I had to give myself the chance to qualify.”
- In an interview, her coach, Sihag said that there was nothing that could distract Bhawna. She used to travel from her PG to the practice ground and again back to the pg.
- After winning many big games, her coach remarked on her splendid performance and said,
She’s a natural walker. Her action is very clean and she rarely commits faults. Even when she had an injury and suffered from typhoid, I was very confident that she would eventually become a very strong walker. After the inter-state gold, I was very confident she would qualify for the Olympics if she kept her focus on training.”
- In another interview, her coach talked about the time when Bhawna was suffering a lot due to her financial problems, and her family problems. Her coach remarked on that phase of her life and said,
Once she made the choice to train in Rohtak and subsequently in Jaipur, there was little he expected to stop her. She is the most dedicated athlete you can hope for.”