Valluri Srinivasa Rao, who won gold at the Asian Games in Beijing in 2010, is the first to make Kondavelagada famous

Kondavelagada, a sleepy village in Nellimarla mandal, is known for churning out weightlifters. The first one to make India proud from the village, inhabited by peasants and daily wage earners, is Valluri Srinivasa Rao who won gold in the 56-kg category at the Asian Games in Beijing in 2010, a silver medal in the 19 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and many more to his credit won at various other meets.

Stepping into the shoes of Mr. Valluri is a young woman from the same village Matsa Santoshi. Born to Matsa Satyam, a worker in Nellimarla Jute Mills, and Ramulamma, she studied up to intermediate. When she was keen to become a weightlifter, her father encouraged her without any hesitation. She was coached by Challa Ramu. She won gold in the 53 kg category at national senior women’s weightlifting championship held recently at Nagpur.

Now, she is one among 22 selected for the XX Commonwealth Games to be held in Scotland for 11 days from July 23 to August 3. Ms. Santoshi left for Shimla for intensive training. A number of philanthropists funded her tour.

Another proud son of the soil was Moida Ramakrishna who won bronze medal at the national weightlifting competitions in Nagpur. Interestingly, youngsters in this remote village take to weightlifting. Among them, a few have the zeal to shine at national and international level, says Mr. Challa Ramu.