VIZIANAGARAM : Twenty-two year old Damarasingi Ganesh has cleared several hurdles on his way to secure seven medals, including three gold, at several State-level cycling competitions.
He was able to achieve all this with a second-hand bicycle that youngsters in his village bought for him after pooling money. Although he has participated in several national and international-level competitions, his financial condition has prevented him from forging ahead.
So far, his parents, both daily wage workers, have supported him in his career as neither the government nor any sponsors have come forward to help him. His sister, Revathi, had to give up pursuing a career in cycling due to the family’s financial constraint. She had won three medals in various State-level competitions. Now, she is undergoing training as a nurse so she can help her brother.
A native of R Vasantha village under Gantyada mandal in Vizianagaram district, Ganesh was interested in swimming and cycling since he was a child. His was selected for the Vizianagaram Academy run by the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP) in 2018. He underwent training for swimming at the academy for two years.
However, later his coaches advised him to try his luck with cycling. Subsequently, he started training for cycling three years ago. Unfortunately, the academy shut down due to Covid pandemic.His passion for the sport only pushed him further to purse a career in cycling without a coach. He trained using the bicycle villagers bought for him with Rs 45,000.
Speaking to this newspaper, the cyclist said, “I am practising cycling in my village, besides going to college at Shrungavarapukota where I am studying Bachelor of Physical Education (B.P. Ed).”
Asked about the dificulties he faced, “It is difficult for me to compete with other participants who have sophisticated gears, and bicycles that cost anywhere between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 20 lakh.” On the other hand, with my cycle, I have to spend extra energy during the competitions as it is old. I am confident that I will excel in cycling on national and international platforms if I receive financial support from the government or civic society. I am also ready to train few other cyclists, including my sister, if I can get the support from the government.”