Shubha Venkateshan, and Dhanalakshmi Shekar, representing India in the 4×400 relay event at Tokyo Olympics, are scheduled to board the plane on July 23.
With their experience in international competitions, the duo are confident of winning medals for the country.
Both sprinters are from the town of Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu. They have been adopted and trained by Alva Educational Foundation of Moodbidri in Karnataka.
Talking to IANS from the Indian Training Camp amidst rigorous practice sessions, both sprinters shared their journey and ambitions.
Shubha Venkateshan, started showing talent from third standard at the school sports meets. Seeing her medal quest, her grandfather took her to Chennai. Her performance saw constant improvement such that by the time she reached Class 12, she got selected for Indian camp and won medals at the national level.
After noticing her talent, Alva’s Educational Foundation trainer Abhishek asked her to join their sports school. She was readily sent by her parents for further training in Karnataka.
“I was shocked when the selection to Tokyo Olympics was announced. I was so happy to qualify, my dream has come true. Training is going on and I will put in my best efforts,” Shubha explained.
“I have participated in 8 international championships and won medals in 3 of them. This experience at the international level will come in handy for me at the Tokyo Olympics. Though I know that competition at the Olympics is different, I will do my best,” she said.
Shubha’s inspiration is US champion Allyson Fellix.
She is studying BBA and she is also looking forward to making it to individual events at the Asian Games scheduled to be held in 2022, 2024 CommonWealth Games and next Olympics.
“Don’t be scared about anything. I tried for 12 years and got an opportunity to compete in the Tokyo Olympics,” she tells youngsters.
Dhanalakshmi started sprinting at the age of 13. Without training, she managed to participate in zonal level competitions. She started getting quality training only when she came to college.
“I could not give my best performance in 100 meter and 200 meter competitions. The coach asked me to take up 400 meter relay competition and I could secure my place at Indian camp,” Dhanalakshmi said.
“Do not get diverted. Have faith in yourself. Through hard work, goals can be achieved,” she said.
Both hailing from humble backgrounds, now clearly aim at winning medals for India. “We have another advantage. The other two girls selected for the relay team are also from Tamil Nadu. There is better coordination and we want to make our nation proud,” they added.