A post grad journalism student of SIMC, Pune with a passion for using words to get my message across in the most unique ways possible and curiosity is the force that drives me to learn and experience more every day.
A Chennai police constable, P Naganathan, always dreamt of becoming a professional runner. But his financial conditions prevented him from training for it full-time. Yet, the 25-year-old never gave up and continued his training barefoot. Today, Naganathan has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and will represent India in the 4x400 relay.
Besides working as a police constable, Naganathan had worked as a construction labourer during the weekends and vacations to etch out a living for his family. His father, Pandi, a farmworker, and his mother, Panchavarnam, have four kids, as reported by The New Indian Express.
Naganathan could not afford to buy shoes when he started running races in school, and only after making it to the district sports meet, his school gifted him with a pair of shoes.
He wanted to study engineering, but he had to study History for a Bachelor's degree due to his financial condition. During his college days, Naganathan used to work part-time to cover college fees. However, his talent in sports came in handy when his college fees were reimbursed at the end of the semester, based on his sports performance.
Availing the benefits of sports quota, Naganathan secured a job as an Armed Reserve Constable in 2017. In 2019, he won the gold medal at the All India Police Meet, which spotlighted him.
Later that year, he also won the CM's trophy at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
In February, Naganathan participated in the Federation Cup in Patiala and finished second, which secured him an invitation to be part of the Indian team. After 45 days of training, he was selected.
"Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would get an opportunity to participate in the Olympics," he said. Naganathan also added that he owes his success to Prabhakaran, the Chennai Police Sports In-charge, and sub-inspectors Paul Dominic and Sivalingam.
Naganathan will team up with Arokiyaraj from Trichy, Mohammed Anas from Kerala and Amose Jacob from Delhi for the 4x400 relay at the Tokyo Olympics, starting from July 23.
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