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Illness forces Priya out of Coimbatore Nationals

There is something phenomenal about Priyadarshini Suresh’s achievements. The 17-year-old Chennai girl is not just a promising athlete on the national scene, she is also a rank holder in her school curriculum. And the most admirable part is how she combines her studies and track work.

Illness forces Priya out of Coimbatore Nationals
File photo of Priyadarshini Suresh in action


Priyadarshini could have been Tamil Nadu’s leading light in the National Junior Athletic Championship to be held in Coimbatore next week but unfortunately for the state, she will not be participating in the meet because she is undergoing treatment for sinusitis and has been advised rest. 

“The meet was originally scheduled be held in Chennai but because of the ISL commitments the Nehru stadium was not available till December and they had to take it out to Coimbatore,” said Priyadarshini, who admitted she would have been under pressure (from herself) to take part if the meet was held in the city. “Even Coimbatore is okay for me because I thought it is within the state but doctors advised me not to risk even if it is in Chennai.” 

Priyadarshini shot to fame on the track when she won the silver medal in the World School Games in Turkey last May and received the Chief Minister’s award of Rs 20 lakh. “My silver medal came amidst high drama as the coup in Turkey happened around the same time when we were there. Lot of people called me to find out what happened because I was the only one with ISD facilities and I had to switch off the phone after some time. We were not affected by the coup at all though there was an interruption of the meet on the day till afternoon,” recalled Priyadarshini, who had scored 499 marks (out of 500) in her 10th standard examinations. A 12th standard student of DAV Matriculation school, Mogappair, she is currently preparing for her board examinations. 

“I think I will have a reasonable break of six months before I compete in the Federation Cup junior meet next May. This will also help me complete my school examinations,” said Priyadarshini. 

Daughter of CS Suresh, a businessman and Kavitha, a dentist, Priya would like to pursue the medical profession but she does not want to give up on her athletics career. “I have been invited by Anju George to join her academy (jumps) in Bangalore and I am doing my triple jump in the last one year after trying long jump and 100 metre hurdles in the past,” said Priya. “I am confident I can combine studies and the jumps to good effect and let me see how far I can take this and then I will decide.” 

The best part of Priyadarshini’s progress is that she is training with a good coach (MV Rajsekar) and she has also a good support system, both parents encouraging her track career. Athletics is also in her genes as her grandfather, C Sankaran, had represented India in the World University Games back in the 1950s in long jump.

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