The man on the other end of the phone line is cackling. Unusually so as the question, “could you say something about the hardships you have endured in your career?” is hardly one you would laugh at.
But this is Nagpuri Ramesh, a man who has spent months at end away from his family so that he could hone the skills of some of India’s best sprinters. His efforts have been finally recognised as he will be honoured with the Dronacharya Award next Monday.
While the troubles of Indian sprinter Dutee Chand are well documented, the hardships endured by the sprinter’s coach, Ramesh, are relatively unknown.
For almost 15 years, he was stationed away from Hyderabad, where his wife Vidyullatha and daughters Bhavishya and Aneesha stay. His job as a coach kept him away from family for months at a time—he was not there for anniversaries, birthdays and important occasions. There have been times when he did not meet his family “for six months” at a stretch.
“There are more medals listed in my diary than birthdays and anniversaries,” says Ramesh, laughing. “But I do it for the passion of the sport.” Ramesh
“I’ve spent my life training the children of others, but ironically never had the time to train my own daughter, Aneesha, who once finished second in a 1500m race in the district championship,” he adds, his laughter vanishing as quickly as it arrived. Aneesha is now preparing for medical entrance exams.
Now, Ramesh is hoping that his younger daughter, Bhavishya, who’s in Class VII, picks up the sport. The fact that he’s now posted in Hyderabad will certainly help.
The story of his dedication is well known in the whole of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana’s sporting fraternity.
“Ramesh sir thoroughly deserves it. He sacrificed his personal life and stayed away from his family for 15 years. This award is a true tribute for his hard work and dedication,” former cricketer and current India national selector MSK Prasad said.
Ramesh is now focused on developing Chand and other athletes under him to winners on the world stage.
“These type of awards are very motivating,” he says. “Dutee is young and she can win a lot of medals for the country. There are a lot of talent in Telengana as well and I would like to work to bring them out onto the international stage.”