Meet Nandini, TS tea-seller's daughter who battled Covid, earns place in World Championship

When she was slipping into depression, her coach Nagapuri Ramesh gave her all the strength to come back

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  1 Aug 2022 5:25 AM GMT
Meet Nandini, TS tea-sellers daughter who battled Covid, earns place in World Championship

Hyderabad: In December 2021, Agasara Nandini, 19, was infected with typhoid. Even before she could overcome the infection, she contracted Covid-19. But she did not give up. Soon after her recovery from Covid-19, she resumed her training for athletics events. Luck however had other things in store. She had to put off her training due to a hamstring tear grade 2 (a rip in the hamstring muscles). Though it was a physical injury, it let her down mentally so much that she could neither eat nor sleep.

When she was slipping into depression, her coach Nagapuri Ramesh gave her all the strength to come back. Ramesh is a Dronacharya Awardee who coached several athletes including sprinter Dutee Chand.

Soon Nandni was back on track in just a month. Moreover, in the Under 20 World Federation trials held in June, she finished in the hurdles event in 13.97 seconds. Luckily she was selected for the Under 20 Junior World Athletics Championship. She is also the only athlete selected from Telangana for U20 World Championship 2022. "I did not think that I would get selected. It was a very tough year with successive physical and mental challenges. When I got Covid-19, I took it as a brief break. But the leg injury let me down. My morale was very low. But with the help of my coaches and trainers, I was able to fight it out and get back to the groove. Ramesh sir used to constantly keep telling me: `You'll come back soon," says Nandini.

Nandini had started her training in athletics four years back. In April 2018, when she went for practice in the Gachibowli stadium, one of the assistant coaches was impressed with her performance and he took her to the main coach, Nagapuri Ramesh. He immediately asked her to join his academy and that's where her journey in athletics- hurdles and long jump began. "Since then, I have won 10-12 medals every year. In the first three months of joining the academy, I got my first national medal," says Nandini.

Double Dhamaka

Nandini considers this year's achievement as a double dhamaka. She has not only got selected for the World Championship but also has completed her intermediate second year with 75% marks.

"Since I was fully into sports, I never really got the time to focus on academics. But in the last few months of the examination, I caught up with the syllabus. I used to study in the evening for 2 hours, then go for training and again come back and continue studying till 1 am. With the help of my teachers and coaches, I could ace both successfully. I am so happy that I have qualified in both," says Nandini, who just completed her intermediate from Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS), Narsingi.

Financial hurdles

Before joining the social welfare school, Nandini used to study in Kendriya Vidyalaya. Her father runs a tea shop and her mother is a homemaker. She says in those days, she had faced financial challenges. But after moving to social welfare school, things have become easier.

When Nandini got selected for the World Championship, her parents were also happy even though they were not able to understand the importance of the achievement initially. "My parents are not educated. So they could not understand it initially. Later, my brothers explained to them that I am going for the world championship and then they were happy," says Nandini.

For Nandini, it is her second time at the Junior World Athletics Championship. In 2021, she attended the U20 World Championship held in Nairobi in Kenya where she came sixth in the semifinals. This time, her goal is to bring home a medal for the country.

In the world championship scheduled to be held between 1-6 August, Nandini's events are on 4, 5, and 6 August. Nandini who is set to travel to Columbia on 2 August says, "Last time, since it was my first time, I was not familiar with things and I was nervous. But this time I have a little bit of experience. And I firmly believe that hard work never goes wasted." She adds it's a precious competition and that she is excited to meet champions from different parts of the world.

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