Nine-year-old mountaineer Pothuraju Samanyu conferred with the Pradhan Mantri Bal Shakti Puraskar

Hyderabad's Pothuraju Samanyu, who got selected for the special recognition from the sports category, received the award from President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on Wednesday.

Samanyu is the youngest to have scaled the Mount Kilimanjaro peak- REUTERS   -  REUTERS

Mountaineer Bharath Thammineni, from Hyderabad, was taken aback when a seven-year-old landed at his doorstep, with his parents, two years ago, with an unusual or rather outrageous request.

Bharath, who owns 'Boots and Crampons', an adventure and mountaineering company, says, "I had taken many professionals on several expeditions before, but this was the first time, I was being asked to take a kid alongside me.

"Obviously, my initial reaction was a 'No, impossible'. They were, however, resolute and tried to coax me further saying he had been to the Everest base camp before."

The Mount Everest base camp at the south-eastern ridge is 5,380 m above sea level, and the young kid holds the record of being the youngest from southern India to have achieved the feat. "That made me think and I assigned him two trainers. Still, I wasn't entirely convinced."

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Samanyu, however, surprised him. "He had the discipline from the very beginning. Later, I gained interest too."

Not before long, in April 2018, Bharath himself had accompanied the prodigy to the 5,885m-tall Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. This is a record achievement too; Samanyu is the youngest to have scaled the peak. Eight months later, the duo were atop Mount Kosciuszko, the highest mountain in Australia at 2,228m.

Now that Samanyu has been named for the prestigious award, Bharath says, "It is an amazing feeling because I have been with him throughout, in every expedition... going to the top. It is surely a different experience."

Lavanya Krishna, Samanyu's mother couldn't contain her excitement when contacted. "It is a great thing. We met the President. He congratulated him, and asked him to meet again in the future."

Samanyu would be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on January 24, and would also be additionally attending the Republic Day parade at Rajpath, New Delhi.

The National Child Award, renamed Bal Shakti Puraskar in 2018, was instituted in 1996 to give recognition to children with exceptional abilities and outstanding achievements in the fields of innovation, scholastic achievements, social service, arts & culture and sports. There is a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, a tablet, a medal, a certificate, and a citation, as well. Samanyu is one of the 26 children to have been awarded.

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