Category Archives: wonder kids

Somagani Spoorthi: Small Wonder

Remembering names and capitals of places with ease is one thing and remembering every scheme and the political history of CM K. Chandrashekhar Rao is another! But this huge feat has been achieved by none other than a 5-year-old girl, Somagani Spoorthi, a UKG student at Ravindra Bharathi School, Kushaiguda. Her recent feat earned Spoorthi a place in the Telugu Book of Records. However, this is not the first time that she had done something amazing — earlier too, the little girl had successfully rattled off PM Modi’s life history and schemes, the names of Andhra Pradesh MLAs and their constituencies — all in a record time of 2 minutes, 30 seconds!

Talking about his daughter’s achievements, Spoorthi’s father, Kiran Kumar says, “Her first record came when she was only 2 years old. Since then, she has this uncanny ability to remember difficult names with minute details and rattle it out in record time.”

 

Coutesy     Deccan chronicle

 

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The wonder boy

In 1994, when a fortuneteller told Lokanatham, an AP State Govt. employee (Tirupathi), that he will be blessed with a boy who will create sensation, he didn’t pay much attention. After two decades, much to Lokanatham’s amusement, the prediction has come true. The boy is Devi Sri Prasad (11), who recently created four Guinness records in Limbo Skating — Forward and Backward Skating under 60 vehicles for 115.6 m, and Forward and Backward Skating under bars of 10 inches height for 184 m and 167 m respectively.

11-year-old Devi Sri Prasad Gandupalli has become the cynosure of all eyes after setting four Guinness records in Limbo skating.

“I practiced for four hours every day. I injured my leg several times — suffered bruises, bleeding, cuts — but my parents gave me first aid. They are there with me during all my practice hours and continuously encourage me,” Devi expresses.

Apparently, Devi’s fascination towards skating started when he was 5. “When I took him for swimming, the authorities said he was not eligible, but Devi saw people practicing skating and that’s how his interest developed,” recalls Lokanatham, adding, “He was so passionate about the sport that three months from then he won a silver medal at the Open National Championship (at Dehradun). Since then, he has won numerous medals.”

Prof. Kishore, Director of Physical Education, Acharya Nagarjuna University, felt that Devi could become an Olympic winner and referred him to Aaradhana Sharma (Sports Nutrition Consultant and Wellness Coach, Pune) who gives dietary advice to badminton star P.V. Sindhu.

“When Aaradhana saw me, she kissed me on the cheek and said ‘I am your fan and had been following you on Facebook’. I felt very happy,” beams Devi.

His father adds, “The diet plan she suggested was very expensive. We are a middleclass family and can’t afford it. So Aaradhana agreed to be Devi’s dietitian and has also been looking for sponsorship. All Olympic aspirants had to undergo a medical check-up at the Army Sports Medical Institute (Pune). Devi had undergone all the medical tests, costing `5 lakh. I couldn’t afford it but seeing his talent, they have provided everything free of cost. Even the medical commandant said he has never seen such a boy during his service.”

The international media, too, reported extensively about Devi’s incredible achievements and now he has his eyes set on the Olympics. “I know I need to complete 15 years to participate, so I am preparing for it,” says Devi.

  • 4 Guinness records in Limbo Skating (2017)
  • Awarded ‘The Honorary Doctorate’ from International University of Higher Martial Arts Education, USA (2015)
  • 3 Gold medals in Open International Inline Skating (2013)
  • World record for Non-stop Limbo Skating — 6 hours (2014)
  •  Won National Championship in CBSE, RSFI and FGFI (2015)
  •  2016 Extraordinary Performer — for Longest Limbo Skating (forwards and backwards) under 53 cars & bars of 8.25 inches

 

courtesy       Deccan Chronicle

 

Gymnastic wonders

City girls and sister duo Priyanka and Anshika Sagar have brought laurels to India by winning gold and silver medals in the recently concluded Sixth Zhong Ling Cup in China. They won the medals in the rhythmic gymnastics category, a first of its kind for the state.

Priyanka (17), the elder of the two, showcased her gymnastic moves on Sahore, a music track from super-hit film Baahubali.

“Picking the Baahubali song was my mother’s idea. The track features beautiful instrumentals with great repercussions, and is  ideal to showcase my gymnastic moves,” says Priyanka, recalling that before this sport, she was passionate about martial arts. “I became fascinated with gymnastics at seven. I have been training under Coach P. Ravindra Kumar since the last 10 years,” she mentions.

On the other hand, Priyanka’s sister, Anshika has a different story to share. “I was inspired by seeing my sister pulling off some incredible gymnastic moves, so I thought why not give it a shot. Rhythmic gymnastics is one of the toughest sports to get into, but once the body gets flexible, we can get into any sport,” elucidates 13-year-old Anshika, who showcased the free hands and ball routine of gymnastics.

Interestingly, Anshika credits her sister for restoring her conviction. “In countries like Russia and Uzbekistan, gymnastics is famous. We wanted to show the world that we can compete too. But the day before the final, I was a bit stressed and she asked me to focus only on the techniques of the movements. I guess it paid off big time,” says the class VIII student of Medhas International school.

However, like most stories about success and grit, the Sagar sisters’ road to the medals has not been a cake-walk. “It was very difficult initially to manage studies and gymnastic together, but later I understood how to balance both. There’s still a long way to go and my target is the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Olympics,” says a goal-driven Priyanka, who studies in Sri Gayatri College.

Talking about her own challenges, young Anshika says, “I am glad that my sister has been a great support system. After winning the medal, support has been coming in from everywhere.”

 

courtesy   Deccan Chronicle

Meet the youngest girl to scale Mt.Stok kangri

Kaamya Karthikeyan scaled the 20,000 feet Mt. Stok Kangri to become the youngest ever to do so

At age nine, this girl from Visakhapatnam has created a record by climbing the high ranges of the Himalayas. Kaamya Karthikeyan scaled Mount Stok Kangri ( 20,187 ft) on August 4 becoming the youngest in the world to scale the peak that stands at a mammoth 20,000 feet above sea level. Her success came after a gruelling summit climb of almost 12 hours followed by a descent of seven hours.

As she completed the arduous trek with her parents, her first reactions were: “It’s been a long day, yeah very long.” Twelve hours of walking through the night and early morning hours, she reached the summit at 9.45 in the morning. “There were about 40-50 other climbers who attempted summit on the same day, out of which only 15 including the four of us completed the summit,” she adds.

This Naval officer’s daughter had made it to the Mt Everest base camp two months ago, but Kaamya says this experience to Mt. Stok Kangri was very different compared to her previous treks.

“Firstly, as we land in Leh directly we are already at 3,500 mtrs above sea level, which is very high altitude. So we had to do a lot of acclimatization by travelling across Khardung La Pass (world’s highest motorable pass) twice. We then travelled across Chang La pass (world’s second highest motorable pass) and even stayed overnight at Pangong Lake which is about 4,300 mtrs. Secondly, unlike other Himalayan treks, the scene in Leh is barren and can get on to you if you don’t adapt,” says Kaamya’s father S. Karthikeyan, a naval officer.

Luckily, Kaamya enjoyed the terrain and especially the beauty of miniature, but brightly coloured flowers which are scarcely seen.

Overcoming challenges

However, the real challenge was the summit climb. This now has to be done directly from the base camp to the Summit and back as camping at the intermediary advance base camp was prohibited a few years ago.

“So now it’s a direct climb of about 1,100 mtrs lasting an average of 14-17 hours. A huge altitude gain, combined with an extremely long day at work has made the success on Stok’s summit extremely challenging,” her father adds. The celebration of the present trek is still pending as Kaamya is busy covering up the missed lessons and studying for the exams that started this week. Now after this long tough trek, the little mountaineer has set her eyes on higher goals.

“It might be Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Elbrus next! But I am sure to undertake ski training in January and participate in the Winter National Games,” says the student of class five of Navy Children’s School, Visakhapatnam. Next summers, she plans to undergo a mountaineering course to gain institutionalised training to prepare her for higher and tougher climbs. Speaking about her earlier Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek, she says, “The entire trek lasted for 14 days, during which we walked through dense forests, grassy plains, rocky terrain, snow and icy glaciers. The amazing views and backdrops that I witnessed compensated more than enough for the efforts put-in during the training.”

Born trekker

Also an accomplished swimmer, marathon runner, Bharatnatyam dancer and Carnatic classical singer, Kaamya’s trekking experiences started on a baby sling with her mother who would take her on treks.

At the age of three, she first started taking baby steps trekking through the Sahyadris holding her father’s hands during his posting in Lonavla. Her first Himalayan trek was to Chandrashila peak at 12,000 feet. Since then, there has been no looking back. This year, she stood first in the basic and intermediate snow skiing courses.

“The progress to this level has been long and gradual and not easy for sure. I’m fortunate that I was born into adventure, with my father, an accomplished mountaineer, skydiver, cyclist and runner, as my biggest inspiration. I treaded my baby steps in the wilderness at an early age of less than three, when I took to trekking in the Sahyadris with my parents. The beauty of the Sahyadris instilled the love for nature so deep in me that I began treasuring the patterns of butterflies and leaves more than expensive toys and clothes. I was hooked forever to Mother Nature,” says Kaamya, who has been giving presentations on her trekking experiences in some city schools and is looking forward to reach out to more children to motivate them.

“For me, the best part was that Kaamya never showed any signs of tiredness even during the tough summit climb and repeatedly kept asking only one question ‘Am I climbing ok? Is my speed good enough to summit on time?’ That was inspirational,” recalls her father and adds that, “such treks and outdoor activities have direct benefits on children like maintaining good health and indirect benefits like the ability to put in hard work, prioritising and scheduling requirements n life and a ‘never say never’ attitude.”

Sports and adventure brings discipline, confidence and focus in life and helps one excel in every sphere. Along with her physical development, Kaamya has been able to juggle easily between winning Spell Bee and Olympiad competitions and learning to play the piano, western and Carnatic music.

courtesy    The Hindu

Expressing himself through dance

12-year-old Saladi Eshan from the city is all set for his Kuchipudi dance performance this weekend. He is confident about pursuing his passion for classical dance and music alongside professional education courses. His mother Saladi Mrunalini is a versatile Kuchipudi dancer, choreographer and teacher. She was trained by Kuchipudi Guru D.V. Satya Kumar and Guru Vedantam Satya Narasimha Shastry.

Talking about her son, Mrunalini shared, “Eshan showed interest in dance since the age of seven. He used to see me dance and automatically make dance postures on his own. I was not very keen to teach him dance, being unsure of his future as a male dancer. But my husband advised me to encourage Eshan and teach him. For a few years we were in New Delhi where I was part of many social message-oriented productions encompassing dance and Indian culture. I have been a part of productions in almost all parts of India from Leh-Ladakh to Kanyakumari including the Northeast for Kanchenjunga Festival, Sindhu-Darshan, Khajuraho Festival, Brahamotsava Festival and Sharad Utsav. My colleague Rasheedi Hasan spotted Eshan’s good voice and started guiding him in music. After coming to Hyderabad, Eshan is taking Carnatic music lessons from Guru P.V.S. Seshaiah Sastry.”

For Eshan, dance performances made him a hero among his classmates and friends. “Whenever I perform in front of friends and classmates, they like my performance so much that they not only applaud during the programme but come and lift me up after! Even in my residential locality, children who have seen my performances started to learn classical dance from my mother. I love dance because I can express my feelings through it. Dance also makes me fit. My father encourages me and even told me how to walk towards the centre of stage before starting a performance. These are very small but important points to be taken care of for a successful presentation. There are many dance competitions in which I have participated and won first prizes. I also enjoy playing cricket in my leisure time and study about space, history and planets,” he says.

“There is only one life for us in which we can try and achieve many things. We may get 99 per cent support from our elders, but we need to make that one per cent effort to be successful in life,” concludes Eshan.

Hyderabad’s own little drummer

Arnav Kuppachi might look like your average 10 year old but when he begins talking his words precede his age.  He is very confident and talks like he knows what he is doing.  Especially so when he talks about his love for drumming. His parents Kalyan and Vavita deserve credit for where he has reached today. They spotted the “ sense of rhythm” in him early and encouraged him to take up music.  Luckily for Arnav his school too helped him dabble in various musical instruments like key board violin piano guitar and table before moving on to drums.

Recently during a World Music Day event in the city  Arnav was one of the youngest players.  In fact he stood out in the band as all the other members were over 27 years of age.  The way the little boy matched up with their experience impressed everyone in the audience.

“ I was first part of a band with members who were in my age group  but I wasn’t happy because they didn’t spend time practicing and weren’t taking it seriously” says Arnav explaining that for him drumming is a serious business.

In fact it was this interest that pushed his parents to bring out the best in his and provide him with good training.  “ All his music teachers in school always told us that he was a quick learner and we wanted to nurture the talent in him.  So we tried enrolling him in a class with Dominic  a well known drummer in the city. But Dominic felt he was really young then   he was just eight years old.  However today Arnav has been practicing for over a year and now Dominic sometimes feels that we should have started a bit earlier “  shares Arnav’s father Kalyan.

I love playing the drums more than anything else. I keep practicing as much as possible. I was nervous at the World Music Day event, but I think it went pretty well. Everyone congratulated me and it makes me happy that I achieved something  says Arnav who has been performing at several places in the city.

He has huge plans for the future and is now gearing up to join an in house band at Microsoft where his mother works.

Arnav says he wants to go on to become one of the best drummers ever.  “ I also want to learn table so that I can use both the instruments to create fusion music’ he concludes.

 

COURTESY      DECCAN CHRONICLE

Leaping high into the air

Ever overheard a group of youngsters in your neighbourhood  huddling and talking about Ollies and wondered what those are?  The Ollie is the most fundamental skateboarding trick where the rider and board leap into the air without the use of the rider’s hands. With June 21 being the Go skateboarding Day enthusiasts from the city as young as eight year olds are gearing up to celebrate the day in all fanfare.

Talking about the same  Aaron Savio Johnson student of class III says “ I took interest in it after watching You Tube videos and pestered my father to get me a skateboard.  I started training professionally three weeks back but the experience is thrilling.” Further adding Savio’s father says “ it’s really difficult to see him falling while training but I try to stay strong and get accustomed to it  but his determination is commendable”. Another student of class III agasthi Chandrashekhar who’s into the sport says “ I have been into roller skating since I was four years old and now with skateboarding I find it really good. I am going to focus on it now.

It’s not just kids who are into skateboarding but many youngsters from the city who are into this sport are coming up with an event at Wall Ride Park. But the way they all fell in love with the sport is almost similar   through You Tube videos.  Sushant Kumar after completing BBA is into fulltime skateboarding.  ‘ I learned the basic from those videos and started pratising three years back”  he says adding “ it  was love at first leap.  Now whenever I get time I take part in competitions   not to win  but to learn tricks from other experts “.  He also adds “people generally think that it’s so much fun  but skateboarding is about maintaining balance while trying out new tricks”.

A member of skateboarding in Hyderabad group Adnan Jafar shares his plan for the day.  “ we will be gathering at the Wall Ride Park to participate in competitions.  It’s very rare that we get a chance to be together and we can’t miss this opportunity to try out new tricks at the new venue only dedicated for skateboarding “ he explains.  Adnan has been skateboarding for the past six years and thinks it is just right time for people to explore more of it.

 

COURTESY     DECCAN CHRONICLE