March 21, 2003 

Inspiration for the day

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Rajani, Nehru Junction, Attipra Panchayat, Thiruvananthapuram

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Once, on the road, Usha T.Nair, cycling coach of Lakshmi Bai National College of Physical Education (LNCPE) met a 7th standard student who was carrying banana leaves on a bicycle to the tea shop run by her mother.  “Would you like to get trained in cycling?”, she asked cycle-borne Rajani.

The young girl, who was running errands on the cycle to overcome the financial hardships at home couldn’t understand the significance of the proposition.  She said, “No”, and pedaled away.  But 3 years later she chanced to see in the newspaper the photo of that coach and her prize-winning wards.

That same day she pedaled to Usha’s house.  It was the birth of a cycling star.  After undergoing summer training at LNCPE, she won the 1st prize in the District level meet, her very first tournament.  Later, in the State level championship, she won in all the items she participated in the Under 16 category.

Rajani then went on to win the All India Inter-University Championship. In the National Games held at Hyderabad recently, she won 2 gold medals, despite some last minute harrowing experience from the State Cycling Association.  It was her coach who made it possible for her to attend the meet by accompanying her to New Delhi for a dope test just before the Games.

Rajani lives with her parents and 2 sisters in a thatched hut.  Her father Ramanan is a wage-labourer who works with the family on off days to complete the house, which the Panchayat had promised to construct for them.

Despite all odds, her coach dreams of an Asian medal for the 19-year-old cyclist.



Courtesy: M.B.Santhosh, January 5, 2003

Contributed by: Administrator


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