Sports in Telangana sprinting towards success

The support system provided by world class sports infrastructure, especially in Hyderabad, continues to produce sporting diamonds, cutting across many disciplines.

Updated - June 02, 2023 12:55 pm IST

Published - June 02, 2023 02:24 am IST - HYDERABAD

Women’s Boxing World Championships Nikhat Zareen being accorded warm welcome on her arrival at The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), Shamshabad from Delhi, in Hyderabad on April 01, 2023

Women’s Boxing World Championships Nikhat Zareen being accorded warm welcome on her arrival at The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), Shamshabad from Delhi, in Hyderabad on April 01, 2023 | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

It is an indisputable fact that athletes from Telangana have made a lasting impression by representing India on the highest platform, more so since the new State was formed a decade ago.

The main reason? The support system being provided by world class sports infrastructure, especially in the City of Pearls, which continues to produce sporting diamonds, cutting across many disciplines.

Thanks to some inspiring gestures by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who often brushed aside the sports policy guidelines with a specific intent of providing the much-needed fillip to young talent to dream big and achieve, there has been a spate of achievements in the world of sports which not only made the State proud but the country too!

Women’s representation

Significantly, representation of women champions in the long list of achievers in Indian sports has been too dominating to be ignored.

Some of the success stories such as Nikhat Zareen (boxing), Soundarya (hockey), G. Sowmya (football), Husamuddin (boxing), Arjun Erigaisi, V. Praneeth, Raja Rithvik (to name a few in chess), coming from relatively obscure towns with no rich history of sports’ achievers, is itself a reminder of how some of the best young talent from across the State have transgressed the barriers to scale the summits in their respective disciplines.

Also read | From 5 to 26 in a decade: Telangana’s medical education landscape flourishes

And, these achievements coming in the backdrop of some of the big names of Indian sports like double Olympics medallist P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, who is an inspiration for many young girls who want to take up badminton as a career, Kidambi Srikanth, who was ranked World No. 1 in badminton in 2018, and world champion bronze medallist B. Sai Praneeth, are worth appreciating.

India’s best-ever men’s doubles combination in badminton — R. Satwik Sairaj and Chirag Shetty (a Mumbaikar but a product of Pullela Gopichand Academy), latest women’s doubles sensation in badminton P. Gayathri and Tressa Jolly, cricketers Mithali Raj and G. Trisha, are some of those who have truly left an indelible mark on Indian sports.

Stories of young shooter Esha Singh and shooter Dhanush Srikanth, guided by London Olympics medallist and ace shooter Gagan Narang, gymnast G. Aruna Reddy, who braved a tragedy in the family to be the first Indian to win a medal in a World Cup 2018, and even footballer G. Soumya from Nizamabad, are truly inspirational.

Telangana sports would be incomplete without the contribution of women’s tennis legend Sania Mirza, ranked World No. 1 in women’s doubles, who defied all odds to set a benchmark which could be the envy of some of the best in the world.

Football back in the limelight

Football, which was almost forgotten in the city for various reasons, is back in the limelight, thanks to Hyderabad FC winning the prestigious ISL, reviving memories of the golden past, though unfortunately no local player figured in the squad.

Chess wizard Dronavalli Harika, with three world championship medals, national women’s table tennis champion Akula Sreeja are some others who redefined the levels of excellence under testing conditions.

Not many may be aware that Telangana has been a force to reckon with in carrom with S. Apoorwa, K. Srinivas, S. Nirmala, and R.D. Dinesh Babu, making it big.

SAI athletics coach Nagapuri Ramesh’s trainees A. Nanshini and Deepthi have been grabbing headlines and promise to win many more medals.

This is a tribute to the commitment and sincerity of some of the finest coaches Telangana has ever produced, starting from Dronacharya S.M. Arif to someone like Nagpuri Ramesh. Telangana Sports School coaches S.A. Singh, P. Manikyalu (weightlifting), and Ismail Baig (rowing), to name a few, redefined the levels of commitment in a selfless manner for a long time.

These achievements have been a consequence of the continuing encouragement by the State government, though there were some justifiable dissenting voices of some of the achievers.

But for these ‘jarring notes’, Telangana has well and truly been in the forefront of producing champions of the highest class consistently.

If the ambitious government sports policy is implemented in letter and spirit, there should be many more success stories.

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