Hyderabad: From Gundam Jenda in Hanamkonda to being part of three Olympics has indeed been a fairytale journey so far for Dronacharya awardee Nagapuri Ramesh. His first appearance came in the 2000 Sydney Olympics as fitness trainer of the Indian hockey team and 16 years later he accompanied sprint star Dutee Chand to the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Ramesh will now travel to the Tokyo Olympics as the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has named this Telangana coach as one of the support staff on Saturday. He may have had a fair share of ups and downs or faced criticism but the 55-year-old’s hard work, passion and selfless dedication to the sport can never be questioned.
An omnipresent figure at the SATS Gachibowli Stadium, Ramesh said this is a different challenge. “It has been a long journey for Dutee. She fought against all odds and qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics was another big battle. She had no competitions because of the Covid-19 pandemic since last year. It is always difficult to motivate an athlete when there are no competitions. But, thanks to KITS, Dutee could manage to do fitness training with all vigour in Bhubaneshwar. She never wasted a single day and she kept her focus on training. Perhaps, a few competitions could have helped her,” said Ramesh.
According to Ramesh, Dutee, who missed the qualifying mark by 0.2 seconds when she clocked 11.17s in the Indian Grand Prix, has a big challenge in Tokyo.
“That she could get an Olympics berth through the world rankings gives her that opportunity to run here. She is a more matured and confident athlete now as compared to Rio Olympics. She fought the gender controversy then, prior to the event. She is a born fighter. It is a tough competition as most of the competitors have breached 11 seconds mark but if Dutee finds her rhythm, she may have a good run in the august company.”
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