Having lost her parents at a young age, Revathi Veeramani and her younger sister were raised by their maternal grandmother, K. Aarmmal, who worked as a daily-wage worker in a small village Sakkimangalam, Madurai. She used to practise sprinting barefoot because she could not afford shoes.
While Aarmmal struggled to bring them up. However, the 23-year-old Veeramani strived to become a professional sprinter who has been selected to represent India at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Veeramani will race for the country in the 4x400m mixed relay event at the Tokyo Olympics, starting on July 23. She secured her berth recently.
Born in poverty, the sprinter and her family struggled to make ends meet. It was Coach Kannan of the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu, who saw her run when she was in school and recognised her talent. Her grandmother initially hesitated since her daughter and son-in-law passed away when the two children were a little over five years old. “The coach at the school said Revathi was good at running and told us to start coaching for her. Though I hesitated at first, I allowed her to go,” she reflected. Adding that today she is very happy that her granddaughter is selected for the Olympics. “I thank the coach for extending his guidance,” she told to The News Minute.
The athlete was born in poverty
The sprinter who is making her Olympics foray revealed to Zee News that she lost her parents at a very young age and was brought up by her grandmother K. Aarmmal. Struggling to earn even a single meal, their grandmother had no option but to leave the girls in a Government Hostel. From their second grade until completing their twelfth grade, the sisters remained in the hostel and carried on with their education, barely meeting their grandmother once a month.
It was during the school-level track events, the 12th grader took part in 100m dash and ran barefoot. She put on a stunning performance and made the finals, thus impressing Coach Kannan. He went on to train her and support her financially, while also providing food and accommodation. He helped her sister get a job in the police department. She said her relatives asked her grandmother to send the girls to work so that she could rest at home but she refused, The Hindu reported.
Veeramani has already represented India in the Asian Games held in Doha in 2006, where she was placed fourth. She has also clinched gold medals in both 100m and 200m at the Junior Nationals in 2016, following by a silver medal at the Senior Nationals, which landed her a place at the Indian National camp in Patiala that was training athletes for the Olympics. Same year she also took part in the World Championship in the 4x400m relay. However, this time, she is determined to bag a medal at the Olympics. Apart from training as an athlete, she also works as a Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) in the Indian Railways. At the camp for Olympics-bound athletes in Patiala on Sunday (July 4), she clocked 53.55 seconds and stood first in the 400m run. The runner, who has been practising for the last two years, raced against the odds to qualify for Tokyo Olympics.
Feature Image Credit: Zee News