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Boxing laurels

V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM
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Boxing Ragala Venkata Manikyalu is making a steady progress in the sport

He comes from the land of Karnam Malleswari, the first-ever Indian athlete to win an Olympic medal — a bronze in weightlifting in the 2000 edition. And, for someone who took to the sport inspired by his father’s modest achievements at the University level, Ragala Venkata Rahul has been a quiet performer in the world of weightlifting.

First spotted by coach Pachipala Manikyalu during an inter-schools sports meet in Palasa, Rahul was drafted into the Andhra Pradesh Sports School a couple of years ago and under the guidance of his mentor and one of the most dedicated coaches S.A. Singh, he is in the news for all right reasons.

The latest achievement — a gold in the 77 kg category with an effort of 310 kg in the recent Asian Indoor Games in China — was just a perfect reminder of his improving skills but also of the raising hopes of his coaching staff that Rahul, son of parents who thrive on agriculture back in Stuartpuram near Guntur, can be a sure medal bet in bigger events in the next few years.

“I was watching my father (Ragala Madhu) train and win medals at University level. But subsequently he had to stop competing for want of support,” says Rahul. And now I want to complete his dream of winning a medal at the Asian Games and who knows at the next Olympics too,” he says. withconfidence.

The 17-year-old student of AP Sports School, given all the needed encouragement by the Special Officer Dr. K. Narsaiah and guidance in terms of exposure to international events by the AP Weightlifting Association secretary Badeti Venkaramaiah, is for sure aware of what is in store for him in the days to come.

“The Asian Indoor Games gold is a huge morale-booster no doubt. But, the road ahead is not only demanding but also very competitive,” Rahul says even as weightlifting never really rose to the standards many expected in the State after Malleswari history-breaking effort for a variety of reasons.

“I am comfortable with all the facilities and the support of the Sports School. Since, now I am in the national camp in Patiala, I hope for things to definitely improve on personal front. I am sure that with the desired hard work and commitment, I can win more medals,” says the silent performer.

Fortunately, this young champion has a chief coach in the Manipur-born 67-year-old Soraisam Achou Singh, who made Sports School in Hakimpet his ‘second’ home for the last 17 years.

“This boy I can tell you is going to be a big star in weightlifting,” he vouches..

V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

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