Silver lining to Kerala boy’s dash from poverty | india | Hindustan Times
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Silver lining to Kerala boy’s dash from poverty

From a one-room house and grinding poverty to a silver medal at a world athletics event, a first for India, Binish K Shaji has overcome a lot of big hurdles. His coach Raju Paul said the 16-year-old sprinter, son of a mason and a part-time tailor, will be the next big thing in Indian athletics, reports Ramesh Babu.

india Updated: Jul 28, 2009 00:50 IST
Ramesh Babu

From a one-room house and grinding poverty to a silver medal at a world athletics event, a first for India, Binish K Shaji has overcome a lot of big hurdles.

His coach Raju Paul said the 16-year-old sprinter, son of a mason and a part-time tailor, will be the next big thing in Indian athletics.

“Shaji’s style and acceleration are superb. Trained properly, he’s a medal hope for the country. I haven’t come across a boy with such steely a resolve,” said Paul.

The resolve would come handy when Shaji left humid Kothamangalam for Estonia for the World School Athletics meet on June 26.

The class XI student bagged a silver medal in the 200 metres sprint. “The temperature in Talinn, Estonia, was 14 degrees. My coach wasn’t around and I haven’t trained much on a synthetic track. Still, representing the nation on the world stage was thrilling,” Shaji told HT.

Shaji’s father earns about Rs 200 a day. Often, to get the family hearth burning, mother Beena takes up tailoring jobs. But the gutsy youngster who idolises Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell hasn’t let poverty keep him down. He has set his sights on a medal in the 2016 Olympics.

“An Olympic medal is my biggest dream. If it means overcoming lack of facilities then so be it. In our school, for instance, we don’t have good tracks. So, I practice by climbing up the stairs during the rainy season,” Shaji said with a smile.