Harmilan Kaur Bains is an Indian athlete (Sprinter) specialized in the 800m and 1500m categories. On 16 September 2021, she broke the national record of 4:06.03 set by Sunita Rani in the 2002 Asian Games. She completed the race in 4:05:39 seconds during the 60th National Open Athletics Championships (Warangal). However, the record speed which she achieved was not enough for her to qualify for the World Athletics Championships 2022 to be held in Oregon (United States).
Harmilan Kaur Bains was born on Thursday, 23 April 1998 (age 23 years; as of 2021) at Mahilpur in Hoshiarpur District (Punjab). Her zodiac sign is Leo. She did her schooling from the Saint Soldier School in Hoshiarpur. As her parents were international athletes so this game is instilled in her since childhood. After grewing up, she played for the national team after getting trained at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in Dharamshala. Further, she went on to represent her side at the international level in 2021.
Height (approx.): 5′ 5″
Hair Colour: Dark Brown
Eye Colour: Hazel
Parents & Siblings
Her father’s name is Amandeep Singh Bains, and he is a former international runner specialized in the 1500m category. He hails from Punjab.
Her mother’s name is Madhuri Saxena, and she is a silver medallist (800m category) at the 2002 Asian Games held in South Korea. She was also honoured with the Arjuna Award by the Government of India in 2004 ((The Tribune)). She hails from Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh).
The first time she gained success was at the age of ten in the 600m race. Soon, she started competing in her school’s CBSE cluster games. She emerged victorious in all these games. She later competed in the national CBSE cluster event but didn’t get success. She also failed a dope test in 2013 and wasn’t able to compete in the Under-14 events losing two valuable years.
Two years later in 2015, her father contacted the Himachal Pradesh Government to allow her to train at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) on the synthetic tracks in Dharamshala. They agreed. She told in an interview that
“It was a big emotional for both of us. My father couldn’t hide his tears, but I started enjoying my stint there gradually. That was the start, not planned but that’s how it was destined to be.”
Since then she was been a regular member of that training regime. She has been working with the professional coach along with the guidance of her parents.
Soon she started winning medals in the 1500m and 800m events at the national level. In 2017, she suffered a knee injury, as a result, she was excluded from the sports for few months. When she returned, she won the silver medal in the 1500m event at the university level. She later told that,
“When I picked up that injury in the inter-university games of Coimbatore, It felt like the end of my career. The support of parents and coaches bought me back. I lost six months and couldn’t compete in any major tournament.”
In 2018, she bagged several medals at the national level in all the categories she competed. Soon, she became a familiar face for everyone. Her hunger for success kept on increasing. The same year, she took part in the Federation Cup National Senior Athletics Championships and won the gold medals in the 1500m category. On 10 October 2019, she came fourth in the 59th National Open Athletics Championships held in Ranchi (Jharkhand) with the timing of 4:22.04.
In February 2020, she competed in the Khelo India University Games held in Odisha and scored 4:14.68 in the 800m category. After the performance, she said,
“Most of the coaches didn’t expect me to win 800m, as my medals came in the other category mostly. Being an underdog helped but I also was surprised at the lack of preparation of competitors. My mother was overjoyed at 800m gold, although the pressure of doing well in the other category didn’t let me sleep.”
On 16 March 2020, she scored 4:08.70 during the 24th National Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championships in Patiala (Punjab). A few months later, at the same venue, she scored 4:08.27 thus improving her previous score in the Indian Grand Prix 4 event. This score was enough for the fans to raise expectations that she would qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But in the next competition, she participated, she could only manage a score of 4:15.52. The reason behind that low score was revealed in an interview, she said,
“Her menstrual cycle upset her rhythm.”
For the next 1.5 years, she remained on a consistent winning streak. She has won nine 1500m races since the beginning of 2020. In August 2021, when Javelin Thrower Neeraj Chopra was making headlines after winning the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Harmilan won the 800m race event with the timing of 2:03.82. During her early days, her parents would often advise her and their expectations were very high which later proved disastrous for her career. So for the Athletics Championships 2021, she travelled alone to Warangal where the tournament was held. Her father then came to see her but rather than sitting on a VIP block, he watched her through the spectator’s stand. Her coach then convinced her parents to stop this constant supervising. Harmilan recalled that time by saying that
“They are very involved and put not just me but my coach also under pressure. They would want to know every little detail. They would give advice like ‘If you train so much your time will be this’ or ask questions to the coach like ‘why is endurance not happening? How will you run with this workout? I needed to travel on my own.”
After the race, her father urged Harmilan to click a selfie with her. She agreed on the condition that he won’t give any lousy pieces of advice during that time.
- 2017: Coimbatore All India Inter-University Championships in 1500m category.
- 2018: Inter-University Championship (Moodbidri) in 1500m category
- 2020: Indian University Championship (Moodbidri) in 1500m category (H1)
- 2020: Indian University Championship (Moodbidri) in 1500m category (F)
- 2020: Khelo India University Games (Bhubaneshwar) in 1500m category
- 2020: Khelo India University Games (Bhubaneshwar) in 800m category
- 2021: World University Games Athletics Trials (Bhubaneshwar) in 1500m category
- 2021: World University Games Athletics Trials (Bhubaneshwar) in 800m category
- 2021: Federation Cup (Patiala) in 1500m category
- 2021: National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships (Patiala) in 800m category
- 2021: National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships (Patiala) in 1500m category
- 2021: Indian Grand Prix 4 (Patiala) in 1500m category
- 2021: National Open Championships at Hanamkonda in Warangal (H1) in 1500m category
- 2021: National Open Championships at Hanamkonda in Warangal (F) in 1500m category
- 2015: Ranchi Indian U18 Championship (Ranchi) in 1500m category
- 2015: Ranchi Indian U18 Championship (Ranchi) in 800m category
- 2016: Indian Grand Prix 4 (Bengaluru) in 800m category
- 2017: Coimbatore All India Inter-university Championship in 800m category
- 2017: Coimbatore All India Inter-university Championship in 1500m category
- 2017: Mangalagiri in 800m category
- 2016: Ho Chi-Minh Asian Junior Championships (Vietnam) in 1500m category
- 2017: Coimbatore All India Inter-University Championships in 1500m category
- 2018: Federation Cup (Patiala) in 1500m category
- 2018: Inter-University Championships (Moodbidri) in 800m category
- 2020: Indian University Championships in 800m category
- Athlete: PT Usha
- Restaurant: Starbucks
- Food: Pizza and Ice-cream
- It was during her last 20 to 30 meters of the 2021 National Open Athletics Championships race where she realized that she can break the national record.
- It was her mother’s wish to put her in Lawn Tennis rather than in Athletics. The reason being that Athletics requires intensive hard work and dedication while Lawn Tennis can be played with lesser stamina as well. But as there was no coaching for Lawn Tennis in their village so Harmilan’s father suggested her mother to put her in Athletics.
- Since childhood, she would often hear her parents recalling their sports journeys which she often finds lusterless. As a result, she started losing interest in sports. Her father wanted her to go for the professional games. He would leave her on the empty ground and asked her to run. Uninterested Harmilan stops running as soon as her father goes.
- During her practice, she use to saw boys playing dodgeball, and then one day she told her mother that she also wants to play Dodgeball. Her mother then agrees on a condition that only after she runs one full round of the ground, she would allow her to play that game. She agreed. Her interest in dodgeball started increasing. At that time, her father used to organize football in their village. He also added athletics alongside football. Harmilan once took part in that athletics game and came second. So annoyed with her second position that she decided to quit athletics. But then her mother convinced her to continue her athletics game. The next time when she competed, she came first. From thereon, her interest in games rosed and soon she started gaining proficiency in this sport. She recalled that incident by saying,
“The sprint which helped me beat that boy when I was only seven infused interest for running in me.”
- After gaining proficiency in this sport, she started working on her fitness. During her initial days, she was on a bulkier side. As a result, she reduced her carbs intake on the advice of her fitness trainer. Fifteen days before any competition, she use to stop the carbs intake and gradually increase it as the competition comes closer. Before any workout, she use to consume soaked dry fruits, and a little bit of coffee with few carbs. During her non-playing time, she consumes around 2300 calories per day. But just a few days before the competition, she reduces her calories intake to around 1500. Her workout schedule remains the same for both 800m and 1500m events.
- She once told in an interview that her dreams are way much bigger than just becoming like her parents. She wants to create history. To pursue this, she was required to attend the sports camp on the regular basis. Seeing her ambitions, her college professors never forced her to come to the college to study. Only to give the examination, she went there. She also said that she has no idols.
“As idolizing someone constrains you to become like them and not the original version of yourself.”
- She is very passionate about her workout regime. She once told that she never feels that she had done enough workouts on that particular day. Further, she remarked,
“I am tired but not tired enough.”
- Explaining the secret of her success, her coach Mr. Suresh Saini revealed,
“Running without expectations is only part of the reason why Harmilan could become a national champion. From a personal best of 4:14.68 at the start of last year, Harliman has improved by nearly 10 seconds. Shedding weight, focusing on intense speed workouts, and improving biomechanics has helped.”
Further, he told,
“Last year her body fat percentage was 26. Now it is 15 percent. She had disturbed running mechanics. We also worked on improving bio-mechanical movements which makes her a more efficient runner. Also because of lower muscle mass, her speed was not the best. That is why I made her do a lot of uphill running like 60 meters, 80 meters in Dharamshala where we trained.”
- Her next target is to participate in the World University Games 2022, Asian Games 2022, and the 2024 Paris Olympics. Her goal is to become the first Indian woman to bag the medal in Athletics. Since her mother couldn’t qualify for the Olympics so she wants to fulfill her dreams.
- In an interview, she gave a message to all the budding youngsters that
“Whatever you want to do, just do with a free mind and full interest. If you don’t have an interest in sports or academics, then you can’t perform neither you can achieve success. Give your 100% in whatever sports you play.”