Category Archives: successful woman

Hitting the bulleye

For 21-year-old Jyoti Surekha Vennam, who is all set to receive the Arjuna Award for archery on Tuesday, it’s a dream come true. All thanks to her family that introduced her to sports at a very early age.

When she was four, she set a record in the Limca Book of World Records for having swam across River Krishna thrice in 3 hours 20 minutes and six seconds, covering a distance of five kilometers. Her father Surendra Kumar says, “She learnt swimming very quickly and used to swim with other 20-year-olds and the coach realised she had very good endurance. My wife, my father and I were Kabaddi players. After Jyoti was born, we moved to Vijayawada from Guntur to access better sports facilities. People laughed then, but now I’m proud that it’s paying off.”

As a promising swimmer, why did she switch sports? “There were no international coaches in Vijayawada and I would have had to go to Bangalore. I was quite young then and my parents didn’t want to send me so far away. After some research, we settled on archery,” she says. The beginning was shaky, but the go-getter that Jyoti is, she didn’t give up. “I loved being in the water and initially, I didn’t want to do archery. But as I got better at the sport, I knew this was for me!” she says. Jyothi is hopeful about the sport. She says, “Every sport has its own importance but if archery got even half the popularity that cricket and badminton are getting, it would be great. But I’m glad to say that women in sports are being duly recognised.”

Ask her what the high point in her career has been and she says, “The most special moments were when I bagged an Asian Games Medal in 2014 and won the Asian Games Championship in 2015. The Arjuna Award, of course, is a cherry on top. My goal now is to win an individual medal in the Senior World Championship.”

Jyoti owes it all to her family. “Archery is an expensive sport and there were moments when I thought my parents are spending too much for me. But my father would say, ‘When you’re trying to achieve something big, we shouldn’t worry much about finances’. He would just ask me to focus on the result,” she explains.

She has travelled to around 12 countries for her tournaments. “The country I liked best was Turkey because of its beaches. I am an introvert. I don’t make conversation unless someone comes up to me first. This troubled me sometimes, but I’ve made peace with it,” she says.

But the young girl not only aces archery but also hits the bullseye in academics. “I’ve finished my B.Tech and I’m now pursuing my MBA. I don’t like to spend much time on studies. I remember things after listening to them just once,” she says, as her father proudly recalls how she got 90% in her Class X exams. “She bagged a medal in Rajasthan and had written the exam soon after getting off the plane. Yet, she did so well,” he says.

 

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Telangana’s shooting star

While most kids play with soft toys, little Rashmmi showed a keen interest in guns and ammunitions. She was born in a family of army men. “My father and grandfather are from the Army, so naturally, I grew up seeing guns and air rifles in my house. I first held a gun when I was five and started practicing by aiming at boxes,” recalls Rashmmi, who hardly knew then that shooting would become her profession one day.Thirty-four-year old Rashmmi Rathore has become the first shooter in Telangana to win a gold medal at the Asian Shotgun Championship.

Now 34, Rashmi shares that it was her dad who introduced her to the world of shooting. “When my dad witnessed the National Games of India in 2010, he said that he wants to see me playing in the next championship. Since then, I started practicing sincerely and participated in various tournaments and won several medals at the national level,” she says.

However, despite being a seasoned shooter on the home front, Rashmmi failed to crack the success code internationally — but only until she found Vaibhav Agashe, a renowned sports physiologist. “I was constantly failing to win a medal at international events, and was feeling dejected. I was confused and wondering where I was going wrong. Then, one of my coaches advised me to talk to sports physiologist Vaibhav who had trained Olympians like Gagan Narag,” she narrates, adding, “Vaibhav advised me to start meditating. Hitting the gym, chalking out a diet plan and self-talk were also part of the training sessions. This helped me with my preparation and handling the pressure.”

Days before the 2017 Asian Shotgun Championship began in Kazakhstan earlier this month, Rashmmi received the biggest jolt of her life when her dad, who used to accompany her to her events, passed away. “My dad was my strength and I couldn’t digest that he’s not there anymore. I was leading a distressful life. During that time, I got a call to prepare for the Asian Championship,” she says.

However, an emotional Rashmmi exhibited great endurance, put up a strong fight and eventually struck gold! “It was tough preparing and I wasn’t keen on it either. But I realised that this was not what my dad wanted. So I started practicing seriously and the training with my sports psychologist helped me big time in coping up with the difficult time. The Telangana Rifle Association also encouraged me a lot. When I won the gold medal (with Mairaj Ahmad Khan), it was an emotional moment and I started crying. Unfortunately, my dad isn’t alive to see the medal, but I always have his blessings,” explains the ace shooter.

When it comes to other facets of her life, interestingly, she is not keen on getting hitched anytime soon. “I never had a crush or a love life in school or college nor have I ever been in a relationship. I have been like this since childhood and people are even scared of me,” she says with a smile, adding, “I am happy being single and my focus is now on the world championship in Moscow on August 31.”

And what does Rashmmi do for leisure or when she wants to unwind? Watching cartoons and spending time with friends, she says, are her stress busters.

 

COURTESY    DECCAN CHRONICLE

Flying high

 

Telugu girl Anny divya has become the youngest woman commander in the world to fly a Boeing 777

Born to Telugu parentsin Pathankot Anny Divya  spent her formative years in Vijayawada.  ‘ I did my schooling and Class XII in Vijayawada where my mother hails from while my father [ an ex army man] is from Warangal.  Since childhood I was fascinated with becoming a pilot. In fact I remember when a teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up my list of goals has pilot on top which eventually became a reality” she says with a smile.

Divya learnt about pilot training at the Rashtriya Uran Akademi in Uttar Pradesh and started preparing for the All India entrance test. “ Getting into the Academy was difficult as I had to clear the test  but I was really keen on getting into the pilot training course. Luckily the education system in Andhra Pradesh was good and I was good at academics so I could crack the exam and make it” she shares.

Apparently one of her English teachers helped her prepare for the interview.  ‘ One interviewer asked me what Vijayawada famous for while another asked if I would be comfortable wearing trousers during the training since I wore a salwar kameez for the interview she recalls.

Coming from a small town, adjusting to the new environment was challenging, admits Divya. “Getting used to the English pronunciation was difficult. The way North Indians speak is also different, and although I studied in an English medium school, nobody spoke much of English in college. Also, getting used to the diverse culture was a tough. However, my parents supported me a lot, and my determination helped me overcome all difficulties,” she says.

After her course, Divya was posted with Air India in Mumbai. “At 19, I went to Spain to train on a Boeing 737 Jet aircraft for a couple of years. Later, I was trained in Boeing 777 in London, and became the youngest woman in the world to fly as a commander of a Boeing 777,” she recalls.

Ask her how life changed after becoming a pilot, and Divya replies, “A lot has changed!” She adds, “After overcoming the initial hurdles, I learnt a lot.. I have to be on my toes at all times as we have to get used to the changing technology and stay focussed. My thought process has also changed and I am optimistic about all aspects of life. Also, I feel being connected to one’s roots is important.”

Divya operates as captain on international flights, and has flown to more than 30 countries. She has also pursued her B.Sc., Aviation and LLB. She divides free time between singing and dancing.

Courtesy    Deccan chronicle

 

A SONG FOR JAPAN

19-year-old Chennai girl Neerajakshi chats about winning Nodojiman – The World, a music competition held in Japan for non-native singers

She’s called Neerajakshi by family and friends. In the online world though, she prefers the name ‘Yami’.

It’s the name she used when she attempted voice-overs for an online Japanese voice-acting group. That was in 2015, a little after she discovered a passion for the Japanese language. Today, Neerajakshi Sunder Rajan — a 19-year-old who is currently undergoing articleship at a chartered accountancy firm — is the first Indian to have won top honours at Nodojiman – The World, a competition in which contestants from various countries are invited to sing Japanese pop songs.

It’s show time

Her first tryst with the Japanese world started when she was very young, when she used to follow anime (a style of film and television animation). “Initially, my sister and I used to watch them just for fun,” recalls Neerajakshi, “They were quite entertaining.” Slowly, the siblings got obsessed with the themes and characters in the shows. “Naruto and Cardcaptor Sakura were two of my favourites,” she smiles.

It soon became dinner-time discussion for Neeraja and her sister Sindhuja. They even started picking up bits and pieces of the language. “We loved interacting in Japanese… from whatever we picked up from these shows,” she recalls, “Of course, back then, we didn’t know if we were speaking it the right way.”

Tune in

It was early this year, after she’d completed her CA inter, that she came across an online post about a Japanese singing competition called Nodojiman – The World. A trained Carnatic musician herself (her father, Delhi P Sunder Rajan, is a renowned violinist), she checked out a few pop songs and picked them up surprisingly well. “I submitted three songs as audio files and forgot all about it,” she says. But an e-mail came soon, requesting her to send videos of her singing. “I then came to know the magnitude of this competition and that there were more than 20,000 applicants from all over the world.”

In a few weeks came another mail from the organisers, that took Neerajakshi by surprise. She was not only chosen for the competition — which meant an all-paid trip to Japan — but was also the only Indian in the event that had contestants from USA, Belgium, Norway and the Philippines, among others.

COURTESY     DECCAN CHRONICLE

Girl power

 

Two girls from the Telugu states have made it big at an international platform beating European weightlifting veterans in their own country.

It’s not easy waking up at wee hours training three times a day—- without any support from the state federation. But Budumuru Rajeswari and Boddenpalli Rajya Laxmi fully on private sponsorship took part in the 14th international women weightlifting Grand Prix event in Nagold Germany which concluded recently and clinched gold medal in their respective categories.

“ It was the first time that Indian women weightlifters tookpart in this event and getting such great results was beyond expectation “ says Rajya Laxmi who got gold in the 90 kg plus category.  Agreeing with her Rajeswari says “ Our federation was not quite eager to send us to any international event  they thought we will not stand a chance against European champions.  Proving them wrong and beating former Olympians gave me a great boost.  Now I don’t want to stop I want to train for the selection round of Commonwealth Games that’s scheduled for next year.

At the Grand Prix 108 weightlifters from 18 countries participated with around eight contestants in each category and beating them all is a great achievement feels their coach Raja Sekhar who accompanied them.  Talking about their journey from national to international tournaments he says “ they trained hard for this tournament as they had to maintain a certain diet and weight.  Seeing their hard work  C B R Prasad agreed to sponsor us for the entire tournament. They trained with me at the CBR Academy of Sports and Education Gollor near shamshabad airport”.  He adds “ if our sportspersons get a chance to participate in such international championships only then will they get the opportunity to mingle with other great champions.  Such experiences matters.”

For both Rajya Laxmi and Rajeshwari the win means a lot more than a medal. “ I was a four time national champion but had to quit weightlifting after marriage.  I came back to the sport a year ago. Since then I am taking one step at a time.  Initially my family wasn’t keen to allow me to continue with the sport but with my consistent effort they agreed.  Now after the win they are elated” she says.

On the other hand Rajeshwari’s family was in full support of her endeavours.  “ Former Olympian weightlifter Karnam Malleswari is from our village in Srikakulam and my parents knew the value of weightlifting.  So when I showed interest in the sport in class VII they readily agreed” she says.

Both Rajya Laxmi and Rajeshwari were joined by twenty one year old.  Tejavath Sukanya who secured the sixth position in the 75 kg  category at the same event. When they are not training they like to watch television for their daily dose of entertainment.

 

Courtesy  Deccan Chronicle

AN ARCHITECTURAL HERO

While tall skyscrapers and luxurious penthouse suites are in trend, city architect Rashmi Tiwari opted for responsible, sustainable building. She designed a restroom using only plastic bottles filled with mud, at Dr Ambedkar Government School, Langer House.

She chose plastic bottles because they are one of the biggest pollutants plaguing the Earth and she wanted to put them to better use. “I came to know that only one out five bottles are being recycled and rest land into landfills,” Rashmi said. “So I thought it is better to use those bottles in my construction, instead. The one litre bottles were collected from various dump yards and filled with mud, compacted, capped and used in place of conventional bricks to make the washroom. For the binding we used mud and cow dung.”

Not only did this idea maintain the environment, but it cut the costs of building as well. “Instead of around Rs 25,000, we made do with Rs 18,000 only,” she said.

The washroom was made within 10 days and was put under observation for few days to see if it was sustainable or not. “Plastic is a very tough material and through our testing, it stood  the ground even when faced with adverse environmental conditions,” Rashmi said.

According to her, the cost effective, environment friendly washrooms can be made anywhere. “I am in talks with GHMC and other municipalities to create environment friendly structures in rural areas, primarily into health care segment,” she added.

Speaking about her background, the UP born Hyderabad settler said, “When I had started studying architecture, I knew that I didn’t want to make skyscrapers but something for the underprivileged and give back to the society. Therefore, I did my specialisation in environmental design.”

While her parents disapproved of her goals in the beginning, they are now proud of Rashmi’s success as an architect.