Sudha almost quit sport due to illness in 200

Lucknow: A prolonged bout of illness in 2005 had almost pushed Sudha Singh, who won a historic gold at the Asian Games in the steeplechase event, to the brink but the fear of losing her Railways job kept her going.

Sudha won the 3000m run at Guangzhou as Indian athletes put up a remarkable show at the sporting extravaganza.

The runner from Rae Bareilly said her confidence took a nosedive when she failed to recover from illness and even thought of giving up her sports career but the benefits of the government job kept her going.

"After getting a job in the Railways in Mumbai through the sports quota following good performance in several events I fell seriously ill for about one year and during this period I had thought of almost giving up sports," Sudha, on a visit to her home district after returning from China, told PTI.

"I had lost confidence during that phase but I think it was the fright of losing the job which came to me. It motivated me to make another attempt and the journey that followed thereafter resulted in bringing accolades not just for me but also the country and Guangzhou was a golden destination in this long journey," she said.

Sudha, who has had her earlier training in the K D Singh Babu stadium in Lucknow said that in her preliminary stages also said that she had never thought of making sports a career, leave alone winning a gold.

"I rather started by competing in school events and that gradually resulted in me making sports a full time career," she said, adding that she never guidance from any top athlete.

Success at the school level brought her to Lucknow and after finishing sixth in the steeplechase event in the 2006 inter-railways competition, she decided to make sport a full-time career.

She had also won the gold in the Guwahati National Games in 2006 which she said started her golden journey in the world of athletics.

She is hoping that her winning streak would continue and that she would be able to repeat her performance in 2012 London Olympics.

Sudha reckons that talent was in abundance in villages and rural areas of the state and could be groomed into world class sportsmen with proper guidance and training.