Hyderabad: Nandini’s father Yellappa was a security guard before setting up a tea shop at Kapran in Secunderabad. But that did not stop his daughter Nandini Agasara to liver her dream, on Saturday, Nandini took one big step towards achieving her goal by bagging the first gold for Telangana in the Under-17 girls’ long jump event in the Khelo India Youth Games 2020 in Guwahati. She has also stormed into 100 metres semifinal with a top finish.
Nandini jumped to a distance of 5.65 metres to take the honours in the event. Nirma Asari from Gujarat and Abhirami Balakrishna VM (Kerala) finished second and third respectively.
Speaking to Telangana Today, Nandini said, “I bestow this medal to my father, my coaches Ramesh and Nagaraj and Praveen sir, further she told that, “my Nana (father) saved every penny to help me pursue my career, He never said no to my dream to run in big meets. Both my parents sacrificed a lot for me, we stay in a small one-bedroom with two of my younger brothers.”
Yellappa father of Nandini hails from Bellary, shifted to the city a few years ago. Initially, they had to seek shelter under the flyover before her father found a job as a watchman.
In a virtually fairytale story, Nandini recounted the financial ordeals that their family has been undergoing all these years. “I am fortunate to run in these meets. I sometimes had to run without proper food and shoes. Despite all the financial constraints, my father never stopped me from participating in the events and saved money to purchase shoes as sometimes I had to run barefoot. But now Praveen sir has provided me the athletic shoes that is helping me a lot,’’ she said.
All of 16, Nandini was spotted by KV Vidayalya coach in Bolaram two years ago. The coach saw her potential as an athlete and took her under his wings. She impressed in the KV meets where Nagaraj saw him and he referred her to Dronacharya awardee N Ramesh, who immediately asked her to come to Gachibowli. The rest is history. She was then admitted into Telangana Residential Educational Society, thanks to RS Praveen Kumar, IPS, secretary.
Ramesh said Nandini is a born athlete. “She has the potential to come good in big events. I had no hesitation to take her when she ran at the ground. She is a good all-round athlete and can win medals for the country in the future,” he said.
Nandini won medals in the South Zone championship and National meets. In SZ meet in Mangalore, she grabbed the heptathlon gold in girls Under-18 section with a national record. She repeated her gold-winning effort in the same event in the Junior Federation Cup in Tamil Nadu and in the Junior Nationals in Vijayawada, she bagged 100 m hurdles silver.
Nandini was confident of a good show in Khelo India. “I had been winning medals in the South Zone meets and I was sure I would get gold here in the long jump. My dream is to win a medal for the country in big events such as Asian Games and others. It is still a long way to go but I will work hard and fulfill my father’s wish to win a medal for the country.”