'Dreams Unlimited': Fisherman’s daughter makes Andhra proud; wins silver medal at Khelo India

Gayatri wants to prove that the children of a fisherman will no more be a fisherman

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  12 March 2023 12:30 PM GMT
khelo india games

Nagidi Gayatri, who won silver medal at Khelo India Youth Games. 

Vijayawada: From paddling a fishing boat to canoeing at the national level, an 18-year-old girl from Andhra Pradesh has rowed down many hurdles to win a medal at the Khelo India Youth Games.

Nagidi Gayatri, a native of Nagayalanka village, Krishna District, bagged a silver medal in the Slalom Canoe- K1 competitions at the Fifth Khelo India Youth Games conducted recently in Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh.

Love for water since childhood:

Coming from a fishermen's family, Gayatri was in love with water since childhood. She used to go fishing with her father, N Nagababu, and was fascinated with boats. "My father is my inspiration. I learned to swim in class V and had a fascination for boats. I used to row a boat with my father," said Gayatri, who completed her Diploma in Veterinary Science in Vizianagaram.

From Taekwondo to Kayak:

Gayatri began her sports career with Taekwondo in class X when she participated in the 33rd National Games. She won a Bronze medal. But her love for water sports led her to join an academy in Nagayalanka. Soon she started getting opportunities to prove her mettle in water sports.

"Thanks to my father with whom I used to go fishing. It helped me learn things quickly. I used to practice for at least four hours every day. And the best part is everyone in my family encouraged me to go further, despite facing many hurdles,” said Gayatri.

Trained by Nagababu and M Srinu, Gayatri, participated in the 36th National Selections in Canoe Slalom sport K1 held in Uttarakhand and got to participate in the 36th National Games.

No proper equipment in Andhra Pradesh:

Since there was an unavailability of equipment in Andhra Pradesh, Gayatri was sent to Madhya Pradesh with the support of the State Kayaking and Canoeing Association and trained by Kuldeep. In the 36th National Games in Gujarat, Gayatri missed a medal in the semi-finals and got disqualified.

The failure did not deter Gayatri to pursue her dreams. To prove that the children of a fisherman will no more be a fisherman, she made her practice much better.

"We need much better equipment in Andhra Pradesh which will help many people like me who come from a financially weak background. I was financially supported by my coaches and that is why I could make it to Khelo India,” said Gayatri, who now aims for a gold medal in the Olympics.

Interestingly, Gayatri's 15-year-old cousin Nagidi Bhargavi, a Class 9 student of Scholars EM High School in Nagayalanka village, also participated in the event. She stood fourth in the Canoeing 1 (C1) category in the Canoe slalom National event.

15-year-old Nagidi Bhargavi.

An inspiring athlete

Speaking on her success, B Balaram Naidu, President of the Canoeing and kayaking Association, Andhra Pradesh, said, "It's very tough to reach national level competition and win a medal in Khelo India youth games. It is all the more important because there were bare minimum equipment and coaching resources available in Andhra Pradesh. Gayatri's achievement will inspire many athletes and identification for water sports in Andhra Pradesh."

Balaram said equipment is expensive and that makes it difficult for athletes. He requested Andhra Pradesh to ease the process of procuring permissions for competitive watersports training, which will help many youth like Gayatri to reach national and international levels.

Khelo India Youth Games:

Khelo India programme is an initiative of the Government of India to create a sporting culture and revive grassroots talent in India. Andhra Pradesh bagged 10 medals, out of which two were for water sports (canoe slalom). This is the first time, five kayaking and canoeing athletes from Andhra Pradesh participated in this category.

Next Story
Share it