This could be another real life example for the just released box office hit ‘Dangal’, only that the hero happens to be a class teacher.
Neither did they have a play ground to practice nor a Physical Education Teacher to train them. But they had one thing in common, the zeal to excel in Kho-Kho which did not let these poor farmers children take rest, till they achieved something big.
Walking for miles at a stretch and practicing in a coconut grove, these rural girls have achieved in kho-kho, making Kannadigas proud. The children hail from a small village named Kuruburu in T Narasipur, studying at the local Sri Nirvanaswamy Gramanthara High School. The team of ten have won the National level kho-kho tournament held at Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh from December 13 to 17 and have brought laurels to State.
Facing several problems along the way including opposition from their own families, they continued practicing relentlessly without giving up. There were instance where the locals discouraged the girls stating nothing can be achieved by playing kho-kho. But, the girls without losing hope have proved their mettle.
K Manjunath who is the Maths teacher in the school, is the inspiration behind the achievements of these girls. When he joined duty in 2008, what impressed him most was the girls chasing each other inside school premises during leisure period. Observing their running skills he arranged a running race competition in school.
To his surprise he found girls running better than boys. It was then he introduced Athletics in the school. He took the students and helped them contest at hobli, taluk and district level sports events involving running race which gradually ended up in training them in kho-kho. They have dedicated themselves in playing kho-kho for the past six years and have won several local, district-level and state-level tournaments.
Started with training five members, now there are more than 90 children undergoing practice in the village, and the game has gain wide popularity in the village and neighbouring villages.
“The entire village recognises us as kho-kho players and appreciate us more capable from boys. After started practicing Kho-kho we gained physical and mental fitness.
Now our aim is to win the premier kho-kho league to be held in December 2017,” says the winning champs.
Teacher Manjunath says: ‘I was interested to become a kho-kho player from childhood, but could not fulfill my dream. Now, there is no end for my happiness. Its because of their interest it has been possible to achieve in kho-kho. They will be given more practice and we are confident we will win the premier kho-kho league.’
Village Head Kuruburu Shanthakumar said: “We are very proud of the achievements of the girls. They have made our village recogonised in National and International level kho-kho tournaments.”
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From Village to national level
The girls have practiced daily for more than four hours in morning and evening at a farm house belongs to Brungesh for nearly five years. By walk they were reaching the farm located at a distance of 1.7 kms from their school.
The management started Vidyadarshini Convent with a small play ground in 2014. The school located at a distance of 1.2 kilo meters from their school, and the girls are practicing in the ground present.
Hailing from poor farmers famililes their economic status are average. Some how couple of them have managed to buy cycles, but even today majority of girls walk miles to practice.
The team of ten who had represented the National-level Kho-Kho- tournament at Chhattisgarh are: R Preethi, P Tulasi, KR Tejaswini, Arpitha, B Chaitra, Monika, N Monashree, M Kruthika, S Vinutha and KE Sangeetha.
The two girls who studied in the school, KS Meghana and M Veena have won in 12th South Asian Games (Soft Game) held in 2015 in Assam. They had participated against Pakisthan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Srilanka.
Surprisingly the school management have not yet appointed Physical Education Teachers. While, parents say teachers play a major role in carving future for children, and they are proud of Manjunath.