Hyderabad: For Hyderabad’s 31-year-old wheelchair shuttler Ramanjaneyulu Boya, winning a gold medal in the 2020 Paralympics is the dream. He has been working hard to realise his dream despite not getting any support from any quarter.
With his dedication and hard work, he has made it to the Indian side that will participate in the BWF Para Badminton World Championship scheduled to be held from November 21 to 26 in Ulsan in South Korea. Having represented the country in the same tournament in 2013 in Germany, Ramanjaneyulu is determined to make his second outing a memorable one with a medal.
He earlier represented the country at various international events, winning silver in Uganda. He also participated in the 2016 Asian Championship in Beijing. However, he feels that a medal at the World Championship will change his fortunes. Though he is specialised in singles in the WH-2 category, he also plays doubles. He, so far, won three medals in singles and doubles at the national events.
Polio-afflicted Ramanjaneyulu took to sports in 2005. He tried his hand at wheelchair javelin throw and discuss before shifting his focus to badminton in 2009. With no proper facilities or training partner, he began playing with children who were being trained by SM Arif at LB Stadium. Talking about the lack of facilities, he said: “There are no facilities for para athletes. I don’t have a partner to train in the city. So I train with children who come to train with Arif sir. I don’t have a personal coach either. I take advice from Arif sir and try to train. But, we undergo training camps whenever there are international tournaments. We had a 10-day camp in Lucknow by Sports Authority of India for this tournament.”
Making the situation worse, there is no support for the athlete from any quarter. “I approached the government way back in 2011 but nothing came of it. The wheelchair, which is used to play, costs around Rs 3.5 lakh. But I can’t afford that. What I use is a wheelchair costing around Rs 25,000. I have to depend on donors to help me if I have to participate in tournaments,” he pointed out.
Ramanjaneyulu lives in Ramnagar with his wife, and works part time with an NGO to make both ends meet. He tried running an internet café, but had to shut it down after running into loss. He feels that someone has to take the initiative to improve the conditions of para athletes. “There are only five shuttlers in the entire south. This is because lack of proper structure. Though there are people who are interested to take up sports, there is no support extended to them to show the way,” he laments.