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Prez awards paralympian for 'Exceptional Achievement'

 Agencies |  2016-11-15 22:38:16.0  |  New Delhi

Revathi Nayak M, daughter of a farmer from Karnataka's Devangere district and herself a Paralympian, on Monday received gold medal as part of National Child Awards for Exceptional Achievements given away by the President on the occasion of Children's Day.

Revathy says her father has been the force behind her achieving the feat.

She started swimming when she was just eight years of age. A water canal from the local dam in her village was her "swimming pool". Later, the closing of the dam threatened to jeopardise her dream.

It was her father who wouldn't let that happen and shifted out of the village so she could have access to modern sports facilities.

"My dream was to produce sportspersons for my country," says Manjunath, Revathi's father.

Manjunath is a former athlete and is grooming all his three children to sports.

His 13-year-old daughter Rakshita Nayaka plays for Karnataka's U-16 cricket team. And 10-year-old son, Nakshatra Nayaka, is a national sub-junior silver medallist in swimming.

"This is my way of living out my dream of being a sportsperson through my children," says Manjunath.

He speaks about how often having two daughters was frowned upon in his community.

"I have always felt that my girls are at par with boys. I put one of my daughters in cricket even though it is considered a male sport. In my village in Devangere she is the only girl cricketer who plays with all the other boys." 

Revathy, the gold medalist at Monday's award ceremony, has a leg length discrepancy, or uneven legs, but that has not deterred her from winning at several international competitions and aiming for a medal at Olympics someday.

The 16-year-old has a silver medal in 50 metre breast stroke and bronze medal in 100 metre breast stroke at International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports World Games held at Prague in 2016 and in the Netherlands in 2015.

She was also placed 6th in Paralympics swimming held at Pasadana of America at Rose Bowl Aquatics in 2014.

She was among 31 children in total who received National Child Awards for Exceptional Achievements. Among the winners were chess players, an equestrian as well as students with keen interest in music and those with several technological innovations to their name.

Awards in two other categories- National Awards for Child Welfare, 2015 and Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award, 2016- were also given away on Monday. 

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