Leelavathi- Making a mark in Adversity

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The Editorial Board at 'Perennials'
The Editorial Board of "Perennials" (the e-magazine of Perennial Publication LLP) comprises a group of distinguished professionals and academicians from diverse fields and areas of interest who continually contribute their ideas through this column, engaging readers in current topics of interest.
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Leelavathi N. is a young rising star in the field of Indian cycling. While people choose sports like badminton, hockey or cricket, she chose to build a sporting career in cycling. It has however not been an easy journey to reach the national level. She is from Bangalore and comes from a family that has faced obscurity, loss, pain and poverty. Born into a family barely making enough to sustain a livelihood, she had no access to the privileges of the basic necessities of life. However, matters worsened when her father went missing, and rumours were bound of him having been murdered. Her mother was compelled to resort to labour jobs as stone cutter in a quarry and later shifted to construction work to earn a living for the family of now three. It was her mother’s relentless support and efforts that kept her shining. She recalls her mother’s sacrifices and her daily walk with her to drop her for her training sessions at 4 am. Her younger brother Arun was taken under Shishu Mandir School’s wings and Leelavathi went on to join St. Anthony Public School. Shishu Mandir has been supporting her in her education along with her brother’s and now continues to support her sports career.

Leelavathi’s interest in sports was recognized and nurtured from the tender age of ten, where her School’s Physical Trainer, Mr. Anthony, encouraged her to train and participate in various sports such as track and field, kho-kho, throwball, volleyball, etc.  In her 7th grade after six months of hockey training, her school won first place in the District Level Hockey Championship, an achievement she treasures.  Nonetheless, after several attempts to build a career in hockey she failed to rise in it. As she progressed into the rigorous years of high school, her playing days began diminishing but Mr. Anthony would secretly train her for individual sporting events and take her for those competitions.

It was only in her 1st year of Pre University College (PUC) when her Computer Science teacher, Mr. Amarnath, a national level cyclist himself, recognized her potential and encouraged her to participate in cycling competitions. She won her first medal in cycling by coming third in the PUC State Level Competition. Since that day Leelavathi has participated in more than 49 sporting events and has secured a medal in 32 of them while doing her graduation in B.Com under Bangalore University. Her mentors Mr. Prasana Krishna and Mr. Durai have been guiding and coaching her throughout her career. She relocated to Amritsar to continue her sports career as Gurunanak Dev University offered her a cycle and training facility for training. She has grown under Mr. Rajesh Kaushik’s, her University Coach, training. Training daily, her day starts at 4 a.m. with a 80 km to 120 km cycle ride in the morning and a two to three hour ground work training session in the evening for building core strength. She is most proud of her first National Medal where she secured a silver medal in the 21st Senior, Junior & Sub-junior National Road Cycling Championship, which was held at Aligarh between the 5th and 8th of November 2015. She is currently eyeing securing a spot on the Indian cycling team to represent India in the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia and is relentlessly training for it. With all these events it is hard to believe that she still does not own a good cycle to compete in cycling competitions and has been borrowing cycles for every event. She says, “Cycling events are won on the basis of two things. First, how well you are trained and the second, what cycle you ride.” She knows that she has missed winning medals in many competitions with a margin of microseconds, and the result could have been different if she had a better cycle to compete with. Shishu Mandir has been supporting her and is proud to be a part of her journey, continuing to help her in its capacity.

Please contact Shishu Mandir on 9379271391 or email on smec@shishumandir.com for sponsoring or donating funds towards Leelavathi’s cycling career.  For futher details regarding Shishu Mandir (NGO supporting Leelavathi) visit http://shishumandir.com/home.htm

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