Indian star sprinter and golden woman Hima Das won her fifth gold at 400m race at the Nove Mesto nad Metuji Grand Prix in the Czech Republic just last week. Her win was a moment of immense pride for many back home. Hima joins the small but growing list of young sports women from the country who continue to aspire, toil and win laurels for their relentless spirit.
Back in Tamil Nadu, Ramya P, an MBA graduate and the daughter of a flower seller, hopes to join this growing list by winning gold at the 8th Commonwealth Powerlifting Championship and making her country proud. Hailing from Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu, 23-year-old Ramya was in her final year of BCom in 2015 when she began her journey as a powerlifting champion, amidst family hardships.
Ramya started her sports career as a basketball player in school but chose powerlifting for the challenges it presented. â€śI wanted to take up a sport where my individual talents were recognised. I took up powerlifting during my third-year undergraduate course. In 2015, I won gold at the Barathiyar Inter-University Championship and this encouraged me to train as a powerlifter,â€ť she tells us.
All through her journey, Ramya shares that her family has been of great support and a source of encouragement.
Currently employed as a part-time gym trainer at MIT college in Chromepet, Chennai, Ramya hopes that entry into Commonwealth Powerlifting Championship will help her secure a permanent government job. â€śMy father runs a flower shop in Thanjavur. Four years ago, he fell ill and my brother had to quit his job to take care of him. If Iâ€™m able to win in this Commonwealth games, I might have a chance at a better future,â€ť she tells TNM.
Ramyaâ€™s trainer P Maya Krishnan, who runs a fitness centre in Aminjakara in Chennai, adds that the last two years have been especially hard on national players since an international win is now required to secure a job. â€śIt is an ongoing issue within the Powerlifting India federation that has made it difficult for national powerlifters to find employment. While we hope this issue will be solved in the coming months, for Ramya, the Commonwealth competition is very important,â€ť he explains.
In May 2018, Ramya won gold at the Asian Championship held in Rajasthan and in September that year, she came sixth in the World Championship that took place in South Africa. At the All Indian University Powerlifting Championship held in Kerala in February 2019, Ramya won bronze.
Ramya is the only player from Tamil Nadu to participate in the Championship 2019, under the 84-kg Senior Powerlifting Commonwealth Women's Championships. To participate in the event, which will be held at St Johnâ€™s, Newfoundland in Canada between September 15 and 21, Ramya needs to raise Rs 2.3 lakhs, which includes entry fee and travel costs. Those wishing to contribute can do so here.