‘Sports as important as studies’ – The Hindu

A 19-year-old girl, with her captivating smile, was the centre of attraction as she occupied her seat among the chief guests at the Annual Sports Day of Savarayalu Nayagar Government Girls High School on Thursday.

A national swimming champion, Rukshana. K.Y is pursuing first year MBBS at the Government Medical College. “I got the MBBS seat through sports quota. I joined swimming classes when I was in Class II,” she said to loud applause from the schoolchildren.

“Sport is as important as reading. Participating in sports energises us and improves our concentration and learning. Everyone should participate in sports and excel in both academics and sports. Do not listen to anyone who discourages,” she told the girls.

‘Training since childhood’

Ms. Rukshana started winning medals from Class VI. When she was in Class VIII, she had won her first gold medal in a national sports meet. “From Class IX to XII, I have bagged at least one medal in the national sports events every year. I have won at least seven national medals,” she said.

She retained the overall championship in the south zone swimming competition from Class VII to Class XII and has won 16 medals. Giving credit to her mother for her unwavering support, she said, “She would accompany me to the swimming classes since I started training. Once I reached Class IX, she even started coaching me based on the knowledge she had gained by listening to the swimming coaches.”

Her mother is a teacher in a private school and her father works in a private firm.

Residing in Murungapakkam, it was easier for her to get trained in the Pondicherry Swimming Centre in Murungapakkam. Though selected for the International School Games in Brazil in 1998, she was unable to participate as she did not possess a passport.

Ms. Rukshana wants to continue swimming while studying medicine. “I want to complete MS and still swim,” she said.

Savarayalu Nayagar Government Girls High School headmistress A. Hemavathi felicitated the swimming champion.

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