She won bronze at the Fed Cup and Asian championship
At 16 years, Yerrabolu Hala holds the rare distinction of being the only person from Andhra Pradesh to be selected to represent India at the World Cup fencing championship in Doha (Qatar), to be held from January 19 to 21.
But, Hala, who is now training at the national camp in Kerala, is obviously not aware of the struggles of her father to raise funds to let her participate in what she believes to be the biggest event in her life.
With the Central Government not willing to bear the expenses for the Qatar meet, players are left to take care of the entire expenditure – which should be close to Rs. 50,000 for each of them.
“Thanks to the gesture of my headmaster Siva Prasad, colleagues Manohar, I could raise the money, which should be just enough to let Hala take part,” says her father Y. Venkata Krishna Reddy, who works as a senior assistant at the Government Nehru Memorial High School in Malakpet.
For someone who found herself in fencing because her father felt it was less expensive and competitive compared to other sporting items, Hala, who regularly trains at Hanuman Vyayamshala under Dhankishan Bhandari, has been making slow progress in the circuit.
This first year intermediate student of Pragati College in Dilsukhnagar is a bronze medallist in the Federation Cup, Asian championship and the Nationals.
In fact, a stroke of luck saw her gain this World Cup slot. She had finished sixth in the selection tournament held in Kolkata, and when the other top contenders opted out on financial grounds, Hala was among the four (the maximum quota for India) who were chosen. Her father is in no mood to deny his daughter the rare opportunity of competing in a World Cup as he is ready with the required money.
“Honestly, I will not boast that Hala will come back with a medal. You never know anything can happen in sport. But, for sure, this World Cup should see a much better athlete in future,” said coach Bhandari.