Rosa Kutty

As a child, Rosa Kutty would wake up at 4 a.m. and begin running. She wasn't running for fun or for her health — she was running for her family's livelihood.

Rosa and her eight brothers and sisters lost their father when she was very young. Everyone in the family had to help make money. Rosa did her part by selling jackfruit and pineapples in the nearest town — five kilometers away.

"I would run to market so I could sell my fruit first," Rosa says.

She could not have known that such effort was preparing her for an outstanding athletic career which was highlighted by her participation on the 1996 India Olympic team.

Rosa has defied time by being successful over a long span. In 1984 she ran the final leg on the Kerala State 4x400 meters team that on a gold medal in the National Games. In 1992 she had a daughter, Sharon, and suffered a stress fracture, but neither stopped her career. By 1995 she was in top form again, winning a Gold Medal at the South Asian Federation Games.

Rosa could have called her Olympic appearance her crowning moment and retired, but she remains active and successful. In 1997 she broke the inter-state record for the 400 meters (52.1 seconds) at the World Athletic Championships in Athens, Greece, and in the same year broke the record in the 800 meters (2 minutes).

Like most athletes, Rosa has faced the issue of whether to take performance enhancing drugs. She received pressure from some to take the drugs, but Rosa based her decision on her faith in Jesus Christ.

"I put my trust in Jesus as a child and since then He has blessed me," Rosa says. "I did not want to betray Jesus, so I refused."

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