National Sports Day 2019: Most parents encourage sports as an extra-curricular activity for kids but may equally resist if the child prioritises it over academics, especially in case of girls who also have to fight evils of patriarchy to top it off. Kids need unconditional support from parents and that’s what the relationship between these successful Indian women sportspersons and their parents proves.
Becoming a world champion wasn’t just the fruit of PV Sindhu’s hard work but also her parents’ relentless support. Her father PV Ramana, a former volleyball player, was the hard taskmaster who reportedly woke up every day at 3 am and drove nearly 60 km twice a day to support her training. Her mother played an equally important role. A Chowdary, Joint Secretary, Badminton Association of India, was quoted as saying, “Ramana gave up everything for Sindhu. He used to follow his daughter like a shadow wherever she went to play. He was seen in Nellore, Ravulapalem, Bhimavaram, Chirala and Vijayawada during the State tournaments and national events. Ramana’s wife Vijayalakshmi sought voluntary retirement from the Railways to take care of her daughter’s career.”
The ace tennis player was reportedly coached by her father Imran in the initial days. “I always believe that my parents are perfect role models, for they never put any kind of pressure on me. They always make me comfortable and are spot on in giving the right kind of advice. Most importantly, they also ensure that I am in the comfort zone before any match. This, I feel, is an essential ingredient for any athlete to bank on,” Sania had revealed in an interview.
Vinesh Phogat, India’s first woman wrestler to win an Asian Games gold, was in the initial years of her training when mother Premlata was diagnosed with cancer, a couple of years after her father’s death. The mother decided to travel alone for chemotherapy while Vinesh continued training under uncle Mahavir Singh Phogat. “This was only possible because of Geeta’s father (Mahavir Singh Phogat). Had he not been strict with the children, I think none of the girls, including Vinesh, would have been able to achieve what they have,” Premlata was quoted as saying after Vinesh’s historical victory.
Captain of Indian women’s cricket team, Mithali Raj’s parents ensured she gets all the support needed and live her dream despite family pressure. “From the beginning (I have told her) ‘Whatever it may be — you are losing or winning–on the ground you’re not going to cry!’ She never cried,” mother Leela Raj, who later quit her career for her daughter, once said in an interview.
India’s youngest shooter to win a World Cup gold, Manu Bhaker’s father Ram Kishan made sure his daughter was exposed to almost every sport before she settled down with shooting. She was moody and threw tantrums but her parents always stood by their teenager.