Youth put spotlight on 'backward' Villupuram of Tamil Nadu

With the year drawing to an end, it is time to shine the spotlight on some of these champions. 
Be it sports or innovation, Villupuram youth have made a mark for themselves, bringing laurels to the district and challenging its ‘backward’ tag, in 2023.
Be it sports or innovation, Villupuram youth have made a mark for themselves, bringing laurels to the district and challenging its ‘backward’ tag, in 2023.

VILLUPURAM: Be it sports or innovation, Villupuram youth have made a mark for themselves, bringing laurels to the district and challenging its ‘backward’ tag, in 2023. 

With the year drawing to an end, it is time to shine the spotlight on some of these champions. 

At the start of the year, B Pavithra, 14, a class 9 student from BN Thoppe municipal high school secured a Mallakhamb bronze at the national level at the fifth Khelo India Youth Games 2022, held in Madhya Pradesh on February 10, 2023. 

Pavithra, a resident of Panampattu village, secured her second bronze in four years. Trained at a local coaching centre from age 9, she performs Mallakhamb and aerial acrobatics under the gymnastics category. 

“I hope to win a gold medal at the international level someday and make my village proud. This is my focus while I am training,” said Pavithra, who aspires to become a civil service officer in the future. 

Following Pavithra’s bronze, R Subhashree, 17, a speech and hearing-impaired athlete struck gold at an athletics tournament. The class 11 student, a sprinter, won the 100 metres race and 4*100 metres relay race at the 25th National Deaf Senior Sports Championship and 8th National Deaf Junior Sports Championship, organised by the All India Sports Council of the Deaf in Madhya Pradesh, between March 15 and 19. 

“I am so happy because many people know me today as a sports champion and not because of my disability. I have received support from various fronts to continue my sports career and I am very excited about my future,” she communicated via sign language. 

Two months later, M Haemachandran, 19, won big at the 2nd World Mallakhamb Championship in Assam. Securing gold in individual and group categories, the veteran player made a mark for himself. Earlier, he had won at multiple national-level Mallakhamb tournaments. 

Speaking to The New Indian Express, Haemachandran said, “I look forward to next year with renewed hope to perform better. The sport is not as fancy or recognised when compared to others. Yet, it is challenging as one has to bend the body in multiple ways. We hope it will become a part of the Olympics soon.”

Apart from sports, youth have also proved their prowess in the field of science and technology, with two government school students creating an ‘abuse alert’ watch to address child abuse, in August. 

R Rajshree and S Nivetha, class 12 students of a government school in Villupuram, qualified for the top 10 of the prestigious Tamil Nadu School Innovation Development Projects 2022-23. Their ‘abuse alert’ watch garnered recognition for its potential to fight against abuse and violence. 

The smartwatch, equipped with an SOS button, enables the user to alert their parents or guardians during an emergency. 

For the finale, 14-year-old M Harshini Nethra, a native of Pidagam village, ended as the runner-up of a popular musical reality show, making her a popular face in the state. She garnered the support of over 20,000 people, who backed her to win, sources said. 

While 2023 has been a rollercoaster, the achievements of these youth have put forth Villupuram as a powerhouse of talent at the national and global levels.

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