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Coleshiya, Tamil Nadu’s golden girl in long jump

She could not afford proper diet and gear that her fellow athletes had but Coleshiya was confident over her performance and that she would win two gold medals at the 32nd National Junior Athletic Championship.

Coleshiya, Tamil Nadu’s golden girl in long jump
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Coleshiya on her way to gold in the long jump event

Coimbatore

This little girl who will be turning 14-years-old later this month is a little more than fourand-a-half feet tall.

She won the gold in the Under 14 triathlon for girls and the next day, she cleared 5.15 metres in long jump in her first attempt. This won her the gold, as the girl who came second cleared 5.03 meters. “My father wanted me to excel in sports. I have won medals in the state and zonal events but this is the first time I am on the top of the list at the national event,” she told DT Next. 

Coleshiya said that she did not want to win the medal but give the best shot. “I broke my best performance of 13.13 seconds for 100 meters by clocking 12.97 seconds in triathlon. In long jump my previous personal best was 5.14 metres. I bettered it with my leap on Saturday,” she said and added that this won her the dual gold medals at the prestigious national event. 

After her father’s demise threeyears-ago her mother supports the family by plucking flowers, rolling beedi and engaging in other menial jobs. This budding athlete is the second of the three children in the family. Her father wanted her to excel in sports and as a kid she won prizes in village level events. 

She joined 6th standard in St. Teresa’s Higher Secondary School at Vadakkankulam, Tirunelveli district, where school physical education teacher R. Maria Deva Shekhar spotted her talent and started mentoring her. She won gold medals at district and divisional events and only last year she started taking athletics seriously. 

Shekhar started training her in long jump and triathlon, in addition to running. 

“She used to come to school with breakfast at 6.15 a.m. After practising for two hours she used to refresh at the school and attend classes. After school she used to again practise from 4.15 to 6 p.m.,” he added. 

Practicing alone is not enough to win laurels. “My master bought me a pair of shoes and spikes, other gear, get me dates and nutritious food and even bear travel expenses to take part in events,” she said. 

Inspired by sprinter Usain Bolt she aspires to win gold medals for India in the Olympics in various events. “I want to become an IAS officer and serve the people,” the teenager said.

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