Revathi Veeramani, a name from Sakkimangalam, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, which was unknown to the world few months back has now been recognized on the international stage. All of this has been possible because of her hard work and determination along with being a ticket collector in the Southern Railways in Madurai. Her life has also been full of struggles and hurdles. But K Kannan saw the potential in her and decided to train her for her dreams.
But first thing which she wanted to work on was running with shoes. It was a privilege which her family could not afford. But she worked on it and learned. Initially the 23-year-old sprinter, took part in 100m, 200m and 4*100m events at the junior nationals in Coimbatore. But later on, with the help of national coach Galina Bukharina, she was able to take part in 4x400m relay.In the same year, she took part in the Asian track and field event at Doha and succeeded a fourth place in the 400m flats. The same year, again in Doha, she also participated in the world championships, in the 4x400m relay event.
Until 2019, she was coached by Kannan. Later on,when she shifted her base to Patiala, she was trained by Galina. In 2019, she also won the women’s 400m event in Indian Grand Prix 5 and 6 with a timing of 54.44 and 53.63 seconds respectively.
Due to bad luck and a knee injury, she was out of action for the first part of the current season. But she made a comeback by winning the 400m event at the Indian Grand Prix 4 in the month of June this year. For the selection event of the Olympics, she was able to achieve the timing of 53.55 seconds and also top position.
After losing both her parents at a young age of 7 years and being raised along with her sister by her grandmother, who worked as daily wager, it was a do or die situation for a girl like her. In the beginning of her sporting career when she was recognized by Kannan, she denied the coaching offered by him. The reason was she belonged to a poor family and so she was unable to afford Rs. 40 every day as a transport cost. So, Coach decided to get her a seat in Lady Doak College in Madurai for BA in Tamil under sports quota. She was also given hostel accommodation. After that, she was able to go to her Coach every morning and evening for the practice. After, shifting her base to Punjab, the harder times were waiting for her again. The pandemic hit hard, but she was able to practice at the camp. But all the national events were cancelled. Along with that her ambition to run for the country at the Olympics was also put on hold.But when the selection event for the Olympics was held and she was selected. Then it was a dream come true for her and her coach. Revathi also recalls the support of her friends back at the camp. “A lot of the students and coaches supported me, even financially when I needed to buy shoes and other equipment. I am so grateful to them. I want to keep doing my best as long as I can. That’s my only goal,” she says.
Currently, the plans of her 76-year-old grandmother to get her married are now on hold and she has been permitted by her to pursue her dreams.She adds, “When I was in school, I didn’t know much about the opportunities available in the field of sports. To those out there who have dreams like me but feel that they don’t have the opportunity, I want to say that there are sports hostels in almost every district. You will get all the support and training you need as long you have the passion and determination. So don’t give up on your dreams.”
By: Raunak Jha