TSRTC bus driver to participate in Malaysian open Masters Championships

TSRTC bus driver to participate in Malaysian open Masters Championships
Highlights

What started as a morning walk aimed at keeping fit soon became a passion for this driver. Having won a bagful of medals in several national veteran athletic meets, the 51-year-old Salvadi Babu Rao, RTC bus driver, is warming up to demonstrate his prowess at the 31st Malaysian International Open Masters Athletics Championships to be held at Kuchik in Malaysia.

Hanamkonda: What started as a morning walk aimed at keeping fit soon became a passion for this driver. Having won a bagful of medals in several national veteran athletic meets, the 51-year-old Salvadi Babu Rao, RTC bus driver, is warming up to demonstrate his prowess at the 31st Malaysian International Open Masters Athletics Championships to be held at Kuchik in Malaysia.

For over a decade, Rao has been a regular walker in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (JNS), a few paces away from Warangal-II RTC bus depot where he is working since 1991. He drew inspiration from watching hordes of people across all age groups walking in the JNS. He learnt the nuances race walk from Praveen Naik, who represented in nationals. Under his guidance, Rao practiced hard besides continuing his energy-sapping driver job.

Rao marked his entry in the State-level Veteran Athletic Meet with a gold medal in 5,000-meter race walk competition on his home ground, JNS, in 2007. This apart, he also won silver medal in 5,000-meter running. By the time he made his debut in the State-level championships, he had already won 20-odd medals in different competitions including the RTC zonal sports.

Rao won the gold medal in the State-level veterans meet held at BHEL in Hyderabad this January by completing 5,000-meter race walk in 29 minutes. He also won bronze medal in 400-meter running. In the recent national-level veterans meet held in Allahabad, he won silver medal in 5,000-meter race walk besides winning bronze in 400-meter running.

Based on his performance, he got an invite to Kuchik to represent the country in the 31st Malaysian International Open Masters Athletics Championships to be held on July 22 and 23. In the 50+ age group, he will participate in two categories - 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter race walk competition. Speaking to The Hans India on the eve of his departure to Kuala Lumpur, Rao said: “My goal is to achieve gold in Malaysian Masters.

I got huge support from my family, (RTC) management and friends, and without them I wouldn’t have achieved this success.” Despite his achievements, it’s learnt that Rao didn’t have any support from the government. JNS Walkers Association members, Namindla Srinivas, Gokarapu Shyam Kumar, Challamalla Nageshwar Rao, Amaravathy Srinivas etc., handed over Rs 5,000 cash to the veteran athlete. Rao thanked RTC regional manager T Surya Kiran, divisional managers Ramulu and Aparna Kalyani, and Warangal depot-II DM Bhanu Kiran for their support.

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