Rural PD Shivashankar Reddy turns students into national athletic champions in Andhra

At 48 years of age, Shivashankar Reddy has won five gold medals and one silver at the national-level athletics in the 45+ age category, and has also been selected for international competitions.
Rural PD Shivashankar Reddy turns students into national athletic champions in Andhra

KADAPA: Boggeti Shivashankar Reddy, a Physical Director (PD) hailing from rural background, has been instrumental in training rural students into State and national-level athletic champions for nearly two and a half decades. Currently serving at Zilla Parishad High School in Ganganapalli, Pendlimarri mandal of Kadapa district, Shivasankar Reddy’s journey from a humble background to becoming a national champion himself is inspiring.

At 48 years of age, Shivashankar Reddy has won five gold medals and one silver at the national-level athletics in the 45+ age category, and has also been selected for international competitions. His commitment towards sports and nurturing greenery sets a benchmark for other physical directors. Born in Pandillapalli village of Kamalapuram mandal, Reddy’s interest in sports was kindled during his school days at Nallalingayapalli Zilla Parishad High School, encouraged by his PD Narayana Reddy.

He continued to excel in sports during his college years at SCNR Degree College in Proddatur, under the mentorship of PD Rama Govind Reddy. Following his mentor’s advice, Shivashankar Reddy pursued a Bachelor of Physical Education (B PEd) from the Government College of Physical Education in Hyderabad, completing it in 1999. After becoming a PD through DSC in 2001, Reddy was posted at Zilla Parishad High School in Gangireddipalli, Veerapunayunipalle mandal. Since then, he has trained over 40 students, who excelled at national-level and 70 students at the state-level in various athletic events.

His commitment towards sports has seen students win medals in long jump, high jump, pole vault, shot put, and javelin throw. Many of his former students continue to seek his guidance, with some becoming constables and one serving as a physical education teacher (PET).

Reddy’s commitment extends beyond sports. He spent Rs 30,000 of his own money to set up a training bed at the school for the students to practise high jump and pole vault. He also collaborates with friends to invest in initiatives revolving around plant cultivation and involves students in planting saplings at every school he works at.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he collected Rs 1 lakh from PETs across Kadapa district to support relief efforts.

In addition to training students, Shivashankar Reddy continues to pursue his own athletic ambitions. He won multiple medals at the State-level Masters Athletic Competition in 2022 and recently secured three gold medals at the first Federation Cup National Athletics Championship - 2024 in Hyderabad. His achievements have earned him a spot at the upcoming international athletic competition in Australia.

Reddy emphasises the importance of inculcating moral values in schools and ensuring adequate physical activity for students. He criticises private schools for appointing PDs without providing necessary facilities and calls for measures to ensure grounds and physical activities for students to prevent obesity and promote physical and mental well-being.

Shivashankar Reddy’s journey highlights the transformative impact of dedicated educators in rural areas, turning students into champions.

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