Ram Baboo is an Indian track athlete. He participated in the 2022 Asian Games and won a bronze medal in the team 35 km race walk event. He gained more recognition as he kept training for athletics even while working as a daily wage labourer and a waiter at a hotel.
Ram Baboo was born on Saturday, 20 March 1999 (age 24 years; as of 2023) in Bahuara village, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, India. Her zodiac sign is Pisces. He went to Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Sonbhadra. In 2021, he began to study at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University, Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh. In an interview, he revealed that he had no interest in studying at school and used to play all the sports without getting tired even after running for a long time. According to him, it was the 2012 Olympics that made him take action towards his dream of making a career in sports. He said,
I was not good at studies and not interested also and so I wanted to make a career in sports. I was in class VII then and I watched at my school hostel television the likes of Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal, Sushil Kumar and Gagan Narang winning medals. The stories also came out in newspaper front pages the next day, and I read all of them. In fact, I kept cuttings of the newspaper articles and photos of the 2012 Olympics medal winners and kept them in my folder.”
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Weight (approx.): 60 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
He belongs to a lower-class family in Bhairavagandhi Tola, Bahuara village.
Parents & Siblings
His father is a manual labourer and earns Rs 3000 to 3500 per month. His mother, Meena Devi, is a homemaker. Ram Baboo has three sisters.
He is unmarried.
After completing his schooling, he became a professional athlete. Before becoming a racewalker, he was a marathon runner. He used to run 5000m and 10000m marathons due to which he developed knee pain. A local coach, Pramod Yadav, suggested him to try race walking which would not put pressure on his knees. In 2017, he went to Varanasi, where he started to train properly in athletics under coach Chandrabahan Yadav. Later, he started training at SAI Bhopal and there he requested a coach to train him. In 2019, he participated in the 50km race walk event at the 6th National Open Race Walking Championship in Chennai. In February 2020, he secured fourth position in the 50km race walk event at the 7th National Race Walking Championship in Ranchi.
In February 2021, he achieved a silver medal in the 50km race walk at the 8th National Race Walk Championships in Ranchi, which led to his admission into the Army Sports Institute in Pune, facilitated by coach Basant Rana.
In 2021, Ram Baboo decided to shift from 5okm to 35km after World Athletics removed the 50km event from its programme. In September 2021, he secured gold in the 35km race walk event with a national record time of 2 hours, 46 minutes, and 30 seconds at the 60th National Open Athletics Championship in Warangal, Telangana. After a few months, he was invited to the Bengaluru national camp. In April 2022, he secured the second position in the 35km race walk event at the 9th National Race Walk Championships in Ranchi. In October 2022, he won gold and set a national record of 2 hours, 39 minutes, and 5 seconds at the 61st National Open Athletics Championship in Bengaluru. In December 2022, he broke his own national record and clocked 2 hours, 36 minutes, and 34 seconds in the men’s 35km race walk event at the 36th National Games in Gujarat.
After winning gold in the National Games 2022, he got a job in the Indian Army, even when he was 11 months older than the eligibility criteria. He was later promoted to havildar. In February 2023, he broke his record for the third time and clocked 2:32:36 at the 10th National Race Walk Championships. He again broke his national record after he clocked 2:29:56 and finished 5th in the men’s 35km event at the Dudinska 50 in 2023. He prepared for many national and international competitions, including the 19th Asian Games, under the guidance of his coach Tatiana Sibileva.
In 2023, he was selected for the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. He, along with Manju Rani, participated in the inaugural 35km mixed team event. They clocked a combined time of 5 hours 51 minutes and 14 seconds and won bronze at the 2022 Asian Games.
- Silver medal in the 50km race walk event at the 8th National Race Walk Championships (2021)
- Gold medal in the 35km race walk event at the 60th National Open Athletics Championship (2021)
- Silver medal in the 35km race walk event at the 9th National Race Walk Championships (2022)
- Gold medal in the 35km race walk event at the 61st National Open Athletics Championship (2022)
- Gold medal in the 35km race walk event at the 36th National Games (2022)
- Gold medal in the 35km race walk event at the 10th National Race Walk Championships (2023)
- Bronze medal in 35 Km race walk mixed team event at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China (2023)
Congratulations to Ram Baboo and Manju Rani for bringing glory to India with their Bronze Medal in the 35km Race Walk Mixed Team event. This would not be possible without the tremendous endurance and determination shown by these amazing athletes. pic.twitter.com/IYiZ4Ectnz
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 4, 2023
- When he was training in Varanasi, his father used to send him some money; however, it was not sufficient. So, he began to work as a waiter at a hotel to pay for the house rent and take care of his diet. In an interview, while talking about his experience of working as a waiter, he said,
I got Rs 3000 per month for working as a waiter but they made me work till midnight and even at 1am. I had to get up at 4am for training at the stadium. It was very difficult for me. People did not respect me and misbehaved with me. So I left Varanasi and returned home.”
- During the 2020 nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, he returned home from SAI Bhopal. It was difficult for him and his family to survive as they didn’t have any money or jobs. In an interview, he shared that after the Indian Government’s MGNREGA scheme was launched, he worked as a labourer with his father under the scheme for one and a half months. After saving some money, he returned to SAI Bhopal to continue his training. He said,
Luckily, we got work under the MGNREGA scheme and I helped my father in digging pits in road construction work. One person would get Rs 300 to 400 per day depending on the amount of work.”
— Parveen Kaswan, IFS (@ParveenKaswan) October 4, 2023
- After he won a bronze medal at the 19th Asian Games, many people got inspired after hearing Ram Baboo’s success story, and one of them was Anand Mahindra. On 14 October 2023, Anand Mahindra took to X (formerly Twitter) and offered his family to give any tractor or pickup truck of their choice.
Daily wage worker to Asian Games Medallist. Unstoppable courage & determination. Please give me his contact number @thebetterindia I’d like to support his family by giving them any tractor or pickup truck of ours they want. pic.twitter.com/ivbI9pzf5F
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) October 14, 2023
- In a 2023 interview, Baboo mentioned his decision to transition from 35km to the 20km race walk from the next season, citing the unpredictability of the mixed team event where the combined timing of male and female competitors determines the medal outcome. He said,
You never know, my colleague (woman race walker) may not be able to do well on a particular day, she may be sick but still taking part or she may be disqualified during the competition. All these are not in my hands. So, I am shifting to a 20km event from next year.”