CHENNAI: It is a feeling that a few Indian athletes have ever experienced —a medal-winning effort at any international meet, with the world watching as you proudly display the medal that means so much to you. That S Priyadarshini, all of 15, achieved this feat with minimum fuss shows that she is someone to watch out for in the future.
Having bagged a silver in triple jump at the World Schools Athletic Championship, held at Wuhan, China, recently, the student of DAV Matriculation Higher Secondary School says that sports is in her blood. “My grandfather was an international athlete, while my father was a long jumper. I got into the field at the age of ten, and have won medals in almost all events I have participated in since then,” says Priyadarshini.
Despite her achievements, which include multiple medals at national level, the soft-spoken girl hasn’t received the recognition or support she deserves. “My parents raise all my expenses, and take me for training at Madras University under my coach MU Rajashekhar. The government has been of little help, but hopefully my performances will do the talking,” she opines.
Priyadarshini was a CBSE student until her IX standard, but since students of the board were not allowed to participate in the National School Games, she shifted to matriculation. The moved has paid rich dividends. Her academic performances have also been top notch, as evidenced by her scoring 499 out of 500 in her tenth boards.
The eleventh class student also credits her parents for being massive pillars of support. “Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and I am very grateful for that. Raising money for my competitions and equipment is not easy, and they have always been supportive of all my decisions.”
Her next aim is to qualify for the Commonwealth Youth Games to be held in Thailand, and she has begun preparations in earnest. With plans to pursue her sport even after completing school, this is surely not the last time we will be hearing about this jumping protégée.