Shyamali Singh’s performance at the Mumbai Marathon takes on a new significance when considering her personal journey and the challenges she has overcome. Her timing might not be at the level of the course record or Olympic qualification, but her bronze medal among Indian women reflects her remarkable determination and resilience.
Facing surgery to remove a brain tumor in December 2020, Shyamali’s road to recovery was no easy feat. Having already overcome a non-malignant tumor in her chest in 2017, she found herself battling health issues once again in 2020. Despite the obstacles, she persisted in her training until the severity of her condition became evident with persistent headaches and fever.
Her husband and coach, Santosh, went to great lengths to secure the best medical care for Shyamali, even reaching out to government officials for support. The financial strain was immense, leading them to sell their house and use up their savings to cover the Rs 15 lakh cost of the surgery. The lack of response from authorities highlights the challenges they faced during this trying time.
Shyamali’s determination to return to running post-surgery is evident in her gradual recovery process. Walking and short-distance runs marked the initial stages, and it took nearly a year before she could participate in a full marathon in Assam in 2022. Her completion of the Mumbai Marathon and podium finish is a significant victory for her, considering the setbacks and uncertainties she faced during her recovery.
Nirmaben Thakor Bharatjee emerged as the fastest Indian woman with an impressive timing of 2:47:11, setting a personal best for herself. Reshma Kevate secured the second position among Indian women with a timing of 3:03:34.
The story of Shyamali Singh serves as an inspiration, emphasizing the strength of the human spirit and the triumph of determination over adversity in the realm of competitive sports.