CWG 2018: The unsung heroes hog the limelight, finally

P. Manikyala Rao and S.A. Singh, who for long have operated away from public eye, had every reason to sport a big smile on Friday evening when one of their trainees, Ragala V. Rahul, won the gold in the Commonwealth Games in 85 kg category.

The duo, now, eagerly awaits some financial rewards for all their efforts.   -  V.V. Subrahmanyam

Far from the city, they have been the quiet performers, never really hogging the limelight despite creating success stories in weightlifting.

The Telangana Sports School (earlier AP Sports School) in Hakimpet, where 17 of the existing 32 weightlifters are international medallists, never got its due when compared to the famed stable of Gopi Academy.

And the two gentlemen, P. Manikyala Rao and S.A. Singh, had every reason to sport a big smile on Friday evening when one of their trainees, Ragala V. Rahul, won the gold in the Commonwealth Games in 85 kg category.

READ: CWG: Venkat Ragala bags India's fourth weightlifting gold

“This is the biggest moment not just for Rahul but for all of us here at the Sports School,” exclaimed a visibly delighted Rao, who along with Singh has honed the skills of not just a young Rahul, but many like him over the last two decades.

Interestingly, it was Rao who first spotted Rahul - born in Stuartpuram (Guntur, AP) - at the School Games meet where he finished fourth in the age group in Amudalavalasa (hometown of Karnam Malleswari) in 2005.

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Soon after, Rao ensured admission for Rahul in the Sports School. “We always knew he is going to make it big because from childhood he has been level-headed, very disciplined, always motivated to keep improving and most importantly (willing) to put in hours of hard work, sometimes all alone in the school,” reminds Singh, whose passion for coaching remains undiminished despite retiring long back.

Ironically, while Rao is paid a meagre Rs. 20,800, Singh gets Rs. 12,200 per month while the weightlifters (in the academy) use the same equipment bought for the 2002 National Games! “But we must thank our Special Officer Dr. K. Narsaiah for all the support,” they noted.

Reflecting on Rahul’s gold-winning performance in CWG, both Rao and Singh feel the former is capable of an improved show. “For someone who set records in winning the Senior Commonwealth championship gold last year, it could have been still better,” they said.

The duo, now, eagerly awaits some financial rewards for all their efforts.