15.84 meters: The Distance He Covered To Bag Bronze For India

Born to a farmhand in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, life didn’t bring things for him on a silver platter but he had to work hard every single day. He had a keen interest in sports but his family could barely manage bread and butter let alone support his training. But when you are destined for greatness, no obstacle seem big enough to stop you and this boy proved it by getting his first bronze for India in the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.

Hopping for the right sport

Praveen Chitravel (now 17) came to Chennai after getting selected in Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s Center of Excellence scheme in 2012. Although he showed great zeal for sports but was unsure about picking one professionally. He hopped from one sport to another until his coach advised him to stick to triple jump in 2016. Later in the same year, he went on to win gold medal at inaugural Khelo India School Games and sealed his fate as a triple jumper. 

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I have been coaching him since 2012 when he was selected in the state government’s Center of Excellence scheme,” says Indira Suresh.

Investing every drop of sweat

For over 6 years Praveen trained under the wings of Indira and devoted himself towards triple jump. Every day he was improving and every one had on eye on him. He was training in Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Chennai but when Indira was transferred to Nagercoil in 2017, he also moved there just to train with her. It was all because of his trust and respect for Indira.

He wanted to train with me only. So when I moved to Nagercoil last year, he also came along. I have arranged a rented house for him along with 4-5 other boys and he trains at the Anna Stadium there,” informs Indira.

Investment yielded returns

October 16, 2018, was the day he got a chance to make the nation proud at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires and that’s exactly what he did. Although he first got disappointed with a jump of 15.68 meters in stage two but with a jump of 15.84 meters in stage one, he confirmed a bronze for India which is also the second medal that India scored in Youth Olympics. 

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He is extremely happy with the medal. It’s a great achievement by him and an extremely proud moment for all of us. He, however, felt he could have done better. He was dejected with the way things went in Stage 2,” says Indira.

Due to his excellence in sports, Alva’s College in Mangalore, Karnataka decided to take care of his education. He is a first year student there and only visits college to appear for exams. He still has a long way to go as he is focused on doing better whenever he’ll have a chance. His story once again affirmed that greatness lies within the person who is willing to sacrifice everything for their dream.

pic courtesy: pic-1pic-2;

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