Coimbatore DMK cadre leads a bike rally as part of election campaign

V Annammal, who is also a volleyball coach, rode a bike in style through the city’s streets

April 12, 2024 10:12 pm | Updated 10:12 pm IST

Annammal during the campaign in Coimbatore.

Annammal during the campaign in Coimbatore. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

As the engine roared to life and the Royal Enfield Bullet surged forward, bystanders cheered for the rider, V Annammal, who was campaigning for her fellow DMK cadre, Ganapathi Rajkumar, for the upcoming general elections. “It was a moment of exhilaration,” the 49-year-old says with a chuckle, recalling the moment onlookers and party members joined her as she lead a bike rally. “Riding a bike wasn’t just about the campaign; it was about breaking barriers,” she explains.

Annammal’s journey into the world of sports began on the playgrounds of St Mary’s School in Kotagiri, under the watchful eye of her physical education teacher. “Sports taught me discipline and resilience,” she reflects, “It was on those volleyball courts that I learned the importance of perseverance, teamwork, and pushing my limits. Those formative years instilled in me values that have guided me throughout my life’s journey.”

After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in English literature from Annamalai University, Annammal found herself drawn back to sports. She eventually got into volleyball coaching. “Coaching was my way of giving back to the community,” she explains. As a coach and player, she inspired athletes to reach for the stars.

Annammal went on to start the AR Volley Ball club, through which she and her two children aged 27 and 23, also physical education trainers, coach children from less-privileged backgrounds. “My day begins at 4am. The coaching sessions happen at Nehru Stadium from 6am to 9am,” she explains, “‘Then, I focus on political activities through the day.”

Joining the DMK in 2019 was a pivotal moment in Annammal’s life, marking a new chapter in her career. “It was a tough decision, but I knew it was the right one,” she says. “As the organiser for the Women’s Wing in Coimbatore, I found a platform to amplify my voice and advocate for change.”

Riding a bike is nothing unusual for Annammal, since she uses one to commute from home to her coaching sessions every day. Using it for election campaign was her son’s idea. “It was a spur-of-the-moment decision; my son, home on leave, suggested I lead a rally using his bike.”

As Annammal looks to the future, her resolve remains unshakeable. “I want to inspire more women. Because when they come together, there’s nothing we can’t achieve.”

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