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Despite odds, this archer hits the mark

V.V. Subrahmanyam
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Archer Bodda Hemalata with her coach P. Ravi Shanker.– PHOTO: By Arrangement
Archer Bodda Hemalata with her coach P. Ravi Shanker.– PHOTO: By Arrangement

Her parents – Venkanna and Saidamma – earn livelihood by cutting stones for daily wages in Devarakonda of Nalgonda district in Telangana. A fact that has not deterred 14-year-old Bodda Hemalata in scripting a success story in the world of archery.

For someone who joined Andhra Pradesh Sports School in 2006 (spotted at the mandal and State-level selections for admissions), Hemalata made not only herself proud, but her coach Pallela Ravi Shanker when she got selected to represent India in the archery competitions in the Youth Olympics to be held in Nanjing next month.

Coming from a rural background, this talented archer, who has been making a quiet progress in the circuit with some creditable performances starting with a gold in the 20m and silver in the team event in the Cadet Nationals in 2010, earned the right to make it to Youth Olympics by virtue of her emerging overall champion in the on-going selection tournament organised by the Archery Association of India at Gachibowli GMC Balayogi Stadium here.

A gold and bronze medallist in the Sub-junior Nationals and a bronze medallist in the Junior Nationals last year, Hemalatha has impressed the archery fraternity with her commitment and dedication. “She is a coach’s delight. Never gives an impression of being tired even after hours of training, stays focussed and should be a medal prospect as she graduates into the senior category,” claims the coach, incidentally having a doctorate for his research in archery in India.

That Hemalatha had finished second amongst the top four archers in India after the selection tournaments showcased her growing potential in the circuit.

“I am glad that I made it to the Youth Olympics. It should be a great learning experience,” says the shy archer. “I don’t want to talk big. Hope to do well. Will give off my best,” she signs off.

Bodda Hemalata, daughter of daily-wage workers, will represent India in the Youth Olympics to be held in Nanjing next month


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