Maharashtra’s Mansi Mohite braved leg numbness caused by a jellyfish bite during the swimming leg to clinch women’s triathlon gold medal in the 37th National Games at the Miramar beach on Sunday.
The 21-year-old led a Maharashtra 1-2 with an aggregate time of 1:14.06s with her statement Sanjana Joshi taking the silver after last edition gold medallist Pragyna Mohan of Gujarat, who had finished second, was disqualified for taking external help to set up her broken cycle pedal.
This was Mohite’s fourth gold medal of this National Games. She had completed a hat-trick of medal in Modern Pentathlon, winning the Biathle women, Biathle team and Biathle mixed relay last week.
“This gold is special for me since I had finished second last time and had worked hard for the last 12 months with an aim of changing the colour of my medal,” said Mohite, who had to be hospitalised soon after the race for treatment since her leg was completely numb.
“The jellyfish bit me when just over 100m were left in the swimming leg and I started feeling the numbness by the time I changed for the cycling leg. But I was in the leader group and told myself that I will at least aim to finish the race and pushed myself,” she said.
The swimmers normally use a certain oil to keep the jellyfish away. Mohite had also covered her entire body with the oil but had left out her ankle as it was taped following an injury during the Modern Pentathlon competition.
Mohite was clearly struggling by the time she turned on to the Miramar beach road to finish the race and her mother kept on egging her to push despite the pain as she had almost a 300m lead over the chasing Pragya Mohan. She ultimately collapsed after completing the race and had to be taken to the hospital.
“My mother has been my biggest supporter and she figured out that I was struggling. So, she started running with me on the sidelines and cheered me on,” said Mohite, who trains at the State Government’s Kreeda Prabodhini in Pune.
The 21-year-old started as a swimmer and water polo player and even won medals for the state before coach Balaji Kendre asked her to give triathlon a try. “Coach was impressed by my stamina and wanted me to train for triathlon and I am happy that I made the switch,” said Mohite, who wanted to join the football team after being enrolled in Kreeda Prabodhini as a 12-year-old but ended up being sent for swimming training.
Discharged from the hospital after being kept under observation for a couple of hours, Mohite is looking for a day of rest before she would be back to try and win the mixed relay good to cap off her National Games campaign.