Published: 19th April 2019
Meet Dhanusha, an auto driver's daughter who will represent India at a heptathlon meet in Italy
Hailing from Mysore, the daughter of Manju, an auto driver and MB Rukmini, a homemaker, Dhanusha started practicing when she was just 14
Being an auto driver's daughter and constantly living with financial worries did not come in the way of dreaming and making it big in life for 19-year-old MR Dhanusha, an athlete from Mysuru - the only girl to have qualified to take part in an international sporting event in Italy.
A student at the University of Mysore, she will represent our country at the 30th Summer Universiade World scheduled to be held in Napoli, Italy between July 3 and 14, 2019.
In the history of the institute, Dhanusha is the only girl to win gold at the All India Inter-University event last year, which was held in Japan and this is the second time the 19-year-old athlete has qualified to take part in the World University event.
"Dhanusha is the only female athlete selected from Mysuru to participate in international events. Despite hailing from a not so well-to-do family, her achievements have always been remarkable, and we are confident that she will win more medals for India now and in the future," says M Puneeth, her coach, who works with the Sports Authority of Karnataka.
Chariot of fire: Since her father is an auto-driver and could not support her coaching financially, Dhanusha struggled hard to ace the taluk, district and state level sports tournaments
Hailing from KR Nagar, the daughter of Manju, an auto driver and MB Rukmini, a homemaker, Dhanusha started practicing when she was just 14 years old. She was inspired by her elder sister MR Anusha who is also an athlete. After she completed Class VII, she participated and got selected at the taluk-level Triathlon. Eventually, she competed at the district level and finally got a chance to play at the state level where she was provided free facilities by the state government to play as well as study. "My first coach was Ashok B Mantur and he trained me for five years in the government sports hostel. He helped me hone my skills while playing heptathlon and encouraged me to play well at every sports event," says Dhanusha.
Since her father is an auto-driver and could not support her coaching financially, Dhanusha struggled hard to ace the taluk, district and state level sports tournaments. "If our performance in a particular sport is really good, then the government provides us with free facilities like hostel, education and coaching. The teachers observe our performances in different tournaments every year. Based on this, they choose the best players and they are allowed to continue to access all the facilities for free or else we will be sent back home. Therefore I would put in effort and practice for hours together so that I would give my best in every tournament," she explains.
Dhanusha, a first-year BBA student at Basudeva Somani College, unlike most of her college mates and friends, spends almost all of her time on the field practising track events. So far, the aspiring athlete, who wants to win gold for her country, has participated in more than 30 nationals, 50 state events and hundreds of district-level heptathlon events, which is a track of events that consists of seven combined events, which include 100 metre hurdles, 200 metre dash, 800 metre run, high jump, shot put, long jump and javelin throw. "Heptathlon events are the toughest and require immense stamina and endurance. I practice relentlessly for 8 to 9 hours every day. My dream is to win a gold medal for India and I have been working towards that," she states.
Bleed Blue: 19-year-old MR Dhanusha, an athlete from University of Mysore - the only girl to have qualified to take part in an international sporting event in Italy
She went on to score 4,780 points in her performance at the All India University event held in Japan last year. Prior to this, when she had to qualify to participate for the final rounds, she scored 4,300 points and broke a record after 23 years, which stood at 3,400 points.
Having been selected to represent India at the World University Games 2019, Dhanusha says that she feels happy that her efforts have paid off. Her practice sessions are divided into three parts every day. Her day starts as early as 6 am with warm-up exercises which go on till 9.30 am. The second sessions start from 11 am and goes on till 1 pm and the third session is between 3 to 6.30 pm. When you ask her what she eats in order to remain fit, she responds saying that she consumes a normal diet and completely avoids junk food. "Dry fruits, greens and protein food like egg and chicken are some of my favourites," she adds.
The Italy event is scheduled to take place from July 3 to 13. She says that she must leave for Odisha on June 20 to attend a training camp there. Participants for the world event must bear the travelling expenses by themselves, which amounts to around Rs 3 lakh. Dhanusha says she is finding it difficult to arrange the money required. She also states that due to the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, she is unable to reach out to any politician who can provide her with some amount of financial aid. She hopes that some philanthropists will come forward to provide her financial help to make it big at the international level.