ONGOLE: In most cases, children take inspiration from their parents and follow their footsteps to make it big in life. However for Suragani Anjanee Devi, her daughter became her role model and helped her realise her childhood dream of becoming a grappling (wrestling) champion.
Born and brought up in a middle class agricultural family in Kolalapudi village of Martur mandal in undivided Prakasam district, Anjanee took to sports when she was still in school. She won several inter-school, inter-district level sports medals as a student. Her parents, Veerabhadraiah and Koteswaramma, and her grandfather Subba Rao had always supported her ambitions to become a sportswoman. But life had other plans for her. She lost her father soon after she completed her Class X exams. Soon after, Anjanee’s parents got her married to Dasari Hanumantha Rao from Ongole. Her dreams to build a career in sports took a back seat as she took over her family’s responsibilities.
Besides being a sportswoman, Anjanee also wanted to become a government employee. So she completed BA in political science and MA in English in distance mode from Acharya Nagarjuna University, thereby securing a job as a welfare secretary at the Kamma Palem Ward Secretariat office in the 7th Municipal division of the Ongole Municipal Corporation (OMC). In the process of passing on the torch to her daughter, Dasari Nikhitha Devi, by training her in grappling, Anjanee, now 37, found her calling once again.
Now 18, Nikitha is studying BA at the DS Government Women’s College in Ongole. The mother-daughter duo recently won gold and silver medals respectively in the Third National Grappling (Wrestling) Championship-2023 held at the Maharshi Dayanand University in Rohtak, Haryana. Last month, they even took part in the 3rd Andhra Pradesh State Senior/Junior Inter district Grappling (Wrestling) Championship-2023 held at Chandrampalem village in Madhurawada, Visakhapatnam.
While Anjanee won gold at the Gi/No Gi style seniors championship under the 89 kg weight category, Nikhita also won the gold under the juniors (U-19 yrs & 70 kg weight) category. The duo also qualified for the national-level Grappling championship. Expressing that she was fond of sports since a young age, Anjanee recalled, “I had won many medals in school. Later, I encouraged my daughter to become a sportswoman and in the process, I became one, fulfilling my lifelong dream.” She added that intense practice for eight to nine months prepared her to compete at the State and national level tourneys.