Tales of grit bind Indian women’s relay team for Tokyo Olympics

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Revathi V (top), Subha Venkataraman (right) and Dhanalakshmi S, members of the Tokyo bound women's 4x400m relay team, are bound by their ability to turn adversity into opportunity.
Revathi V (top), Subha Venkataraman (right) and Dhanalakshmi S, members of the Tokyo bound women's 4x400m relay team, are bound by their ability to turn adversity into opportunity.

Revathi V, Subha Venkataraman, and Dhanalakshmi S hail from Tamil Nadu. This isn’t the only factor binding them. The three are part of the Indian 4x400m relay team that has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. The trio has also battled abject poverty and other hardships before making a mark at the global level.

A peek into their journey strewn with pitfalls:

Revathi Veeramani 

She topped the qualifying race at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala on July 4 with a time of 53.55 seconds and was the first to qualify for the Olympics. While breasting the tape, the mind would have surely gone back to her childhood days. Revathi lost her parents at an early age and the siblings were raised in Madurai by their grandmother who worked as a daily wager. Revathi’s talent was spotted by coach Kannan of the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu who saw her competing without shoes at a zonal-level meet .

Revathi never wanted to run though, she was inclined towards academics but her grandmother did not encourage her. Coach Kannan prodded her to compete in relays and in 2006 Revathi represented India at the Doha Asian Games and secured the fourth place. Life has got better with time and she now works as a Travelling Ticket Examiner in the Railways.

Subha Venkataraman

Subha started her athletics career at a young age but not before going through her share of struggles due to poverty. Her dream is to win gold at the Olympics and that prompted her to move to Chennai for better facilities. With 20 medals in national championships, three international titles, Sudha is training in Patiala in quest of her Olympic dream. She is also hopeful her request for a government job will come through.

Dhanalakshmi Sekhar

Hailing from an underprivileged background as well, Dhanalakshmi’s prop was her mother and coach. Despite the odds, she struggled to mentor her daughter and prepare her for the world stage. Dhanalakshmi has appealed to the Tamil Nadu government for employment. “It takes a minimum of Rs 20,000 to participate in competitions. If I get a job, I can take care of the expenses,” she said.