The first Under-23 National Athletics Championships 2021 was held in New Delhi between September 27-29, and one of the young athletes who made a mark at this event was Moumita Mondal. The 19-year-old athlete, who won the bronze medal for 100m hurdles, is from the Reliance Foundation Odisha Athletics High Performance Centre (HPC), which is based at the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneshwar. Mondal was one of eight athletes from this Reliance Foundation HPC to register 11 personal best (PB) timings at the championships. While MD Alamgair Hossain and Swadhin Majhi from the same HPC also won bronze medals in their individual events, Mondal was the only woman athlete to bag a medal.Head coach James Hillier, whose vision of creating a programme that allows athletes to make steady progress up the ranks was at clear display at the championships, reveals that he is proud of the progress made by the young athletes hes mentoring, especially Mondal. I was most impressed by how well the athletes prepared and how calm they were under performance pressure, he said. Athletics is about the right performance at the right time, and for them all to peak and get PBs at the nationals was so pleasing for me. I feel that we are always the best-prepared athletes at the various competitions we compete in with a physio, a nutritionist and a performance mindset expert at hand to guide our athletes before and after races.Hillier is especially impressed by how Mondal led at the halfway point in her race, and was only beaten to the finish line by more experienced athletes. Her PB at the end of this race was 14.05 seconds, which Hillier reveals is a considerable improvement on the 14.56 she achieved when she first joined the HPC in April 2021. Moumita has improved by over half a second since joining the HPC just under six months ago. My main goal with her was improving her speed between the hurdles and technically getting her to speed up her trail leg by shortening her leg levers, he added.Born and brought up in Kolkata, West Bengal, Mondals father, Subhash Mondal, runs a tea shop and her mother, Soma Mondal, is a homemaker. Mondal dreams of becoming a path-breaking athlete and to support her family at the same time. Her first competition was the district athletics meet at Chinsurah, West Bengal, in 2017. Since then, she has participated in the 34th National Junior Athletics Championships (held in Ranchi in 2018) and the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishthans competition in 2018. She has won a bronze medal during her 2019 school national meet, another bronze during the 2019 Federation Cup, and a silver medal at the 2020 Federation Cup. Apart from her new PB record in 100m hurdles, Mondal also holds a PB triple jump record of 12.12 seconds.It's quite evident that with more practice, and the vital support from the Reliance Foundations HPC, Mondal has the potential to be an impressive athlete in the coming years. All athletes at the Bhubaneshwar HPC, which was set up as a collaboration between the Odisha Government and Reliance Foundation in 2019, will start preparations for the 2022 season under the tutelage of Hillier from the first week of November.