Poonia's formal joining of the party was announced at the rally at Churu by Sirsa Member of Parliament and Rahul's confidant Ashok Tanwar. "It's a new beginning in my life. I have brought laurels for the country in the field of sports but now I want to serve the people and make a difference in their lives," Poonia said.

"It was an overwhelming experience when it was announced that I have joined the Congress Party in front of around two lakh people. It was at the same time a different experience that I was sitting with Rahul Gandhi, the Chief Minister (Ashok Gehlot) and state Congress Party chief among others," said Poonia.

Asked what had prompted her to join politics, she said she developed the desire to work for the betterment of the people, especially for the youth, women and children while leading social campaigns in her state after winning gold medal in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

"After the 2010 CWG, I was involved in social cause campaigns mostly relating to women and children and lots of people want me do something to bring changes in their lives. I felt a connect with these people, mostly women and deprived children,” she said.

“It's new responsibility entrusted to me and I know it's going to be challenging. I thank the Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi and other leaders and I hope I can do something for the people of Rajasthan," said Poonia, the only Indian woman track and field athlete to have won an individual gold medal in Commonwealth Games.


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