From picking firewood, 18-year-old K. Rajitha will now represent India in Junior World athletics


K Rajitha lives in a village with no proper electricity and helps her mother in collecting firewood. Now, the 18-year-old is aiming to collect medals for her country at the international level.

Rajitha, who is trained by SAI athletics coach N. Ramesh and has sponsorship from Gopi Chand-Mytrah Foundation, is slated to represent India at the upcoming Nairobi World Juniors athletic meet, scheduled to be held from 17th August 17 to take part in the 4 x 400 m relay.

The teenager, who has displayed superb pace on the track despite being just above five feet in height, clinched silver in the South Zone meet and the Khelo India Games. She was picked by a selection panel headed by Indian track and field icon PT Usha.

“Honestly, I was not expecting to be selected. I was just keen to give off my best,” Rajitha said in an interview with Sportstar from Patiala.

Hailing from Kunavaram village in Ramachandrapuram, East Godavari in Andhra Pradesh, Rajitha lost her father, who was a daily wager, at a young age. She still helps her mother in making a livelihood by collecting firewood when she goes back to her village.

The teenager says seeing Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics and the national anthem fired her hunger for success. She also idolises Hima Das because of the similar hardship Das faced in her younger days.

“When I saw the national anthem played when Neeraj sir was presented the gold, I was excited and just wondering whether I can reach that level,” added Rajitha.

“Some of her major results have been 400 m silver in the South Zone meet and the Khelo India Games and she has been making slow and steady progress,” said Rajitha’s coach N Ramesh.

“For someone who is so short (just above 5 feet), she has a remarkable burst of speed on the track and like many of those who come from such a background, she is a spirited athlete willing to go extra length in training,” Ramesh added.

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