Chennai Constable Sprints Past Poverty To Qualify For Tokyo Olympics

The 25-year-old P Naganathan will represent India in the 4x400 relay at the Tokyo Olympics this year.

Tamil Nadu   |   9 July 2021 8:39 AM GMT
Writer : Anuran Sadhu | Editor : Ankita Singh | Creatives : Ankita Singh
Chennai Constable Sprints Past Poverty To Qualify For Tokyo Olympics

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.

Professional Journey

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.

A Dream Come True

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.

Also Read: From Sleeping Hungry To Running Barefoot, Sprinter Revathi Veeramani Beats All Odds To Qualify For Olympics

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Contributors

Anuran Sadhu

Anuran Sadhu

Remote Intern

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.

Ankita Singh

Ankita Singh

Digital Editor

A literature lover who likes delving deeper into a wide range of societal issues and expresses her opinions about the same. Keeps looking for best-read recommendations while enjoying her coffee and tea.

Ankita Singh

Ankita Singh

Digital Editor

A literature lover who likes delving deeper into a wide range of societal issues and expresses her opinions about the same. Keeps looking for best-read recommendations while enjoying her coffee and tea.

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