Raiganj girl set for Commonwealth Games

Sonia stands on the victory stand (middle) after winning gold in the Asian Games Invitation Tournament in Jakarta

Raiganj: A Raiganj girl has become the sole athlete from Bengal to be selected for the Indian squad for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Queensland, Australia.

Representatives of the Athletics Federation of India announced Sonia Baishya's inclusion in the women's relay team on Saturday.

As Raiganj residents were overwhelmed by the girl's feat, the North Dinajpur district administration announced that Sonia would be accorded a civic reception when she returned home.

Sources in the West Bengal Athletics Association confirmed that Sonia had been included in the national women's squad on the basis of her performances in the Open National Athletics Championship in Chennai in 2017. She had bagged gold medal in the women's relay race at the Chennai championship.

The 19-year-old girl achieved gold in the same event in the 18th Asian Games Invitation Tournament that was held in Indonesian capital Jakarta in February this year.

Sonia Baishya

"I came to know about my selection for the Indian team on Saturday night. I am under training now," Sonia told The Telegraph over the phone from Patiala on Sunday. "The entire credit for my selection for the national squad goes to my coach. I had blessings of my family and Raiganj residents. My only aim is to get the gold medal in the upcoming tournament and fulfil their aspirations."

Ashis Sengupta, the former vice-president of the state athletics association, said: "Sonia is the only athlete from Bengal who has been selected for the 4X400 meter women's relay race team of India for the Commonwealth Games. We got the confirmation about her selection from the Athletics Federation of India."

Neighbours have visited Sonia's family to congratulate her parents for the selection.

Raiganj MLA Mohit Sengupta, municipal chairman Sandip Biswas and the secretary of the North Dinajpur District Sports Association, Sudip Biswas, were among the visitors to Sonia's residence.

Ayesha Rani A, the district magistrate of North Dinajpur, also congratulated Sonia.

"Once she returns to the town, we will felicitate her by organising a civic reception programme," said the DM.


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