MNREGA Worker to Medal winner at Asian Games: Ram Baboo


Oct 29 2023

<div style=' background:#FFFFFF;color:#000000;font-family:Verdana;width:auto;padding:5px;max-height:100%;'><span><p>Baboo's journey from Uttar Pradesh to winning a bronze medal at the Asian Games is nothing short of a wonder in a nation where dreams may still come true in the face of hardship. Baboo's tale is one of grit, perseverance, and a relentless concentration on his goals.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Born into a poor family in Behura, Uttar Pradesh, making ends meet was a daily challenge for him and his parents who worked as manual labour. Baboo had aspirations of a career in athletics, which he held dear to his heart, despite his financial limitations and the unappealing nature of the normal professional options.&nbsp;<br></p><span></div><div style=' background:#FFFFFF;color:#000000;font-family:Verdana;width:auto;padding:5px;max-height:100%;'><span><p>Baboo's dreams for athletic glory took shape while he was watching the 2012 Olympics, where Indian competitors displayed their talent. He made the decision to enter the world of athletics after being inspired by their accomplishments. A local coach helped him transition from marathons and long distance running to race walking, a sport that not only matched his physique, and was ably complemented by his impressive stamina.&nbsp;</p><p>Baboo relocated to Varanasi to pursue his passion, where he started training while balancing side jobs like waiting tables to pay for his sports aspirations. He used social media to contact organisations and people who could help him, making use of every tool at his disposal to get closer to his goal.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br></p><p>During his formative years, Ram enrolled into Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, which served as a platform for him to accomplish his athletic ambitions. While here, he was able to persuade a coach at the Sports Authority of India in Bhopal to help him realise his goal of representing India in the Olympics.&nbsp;<br></p><span></div><div style=' background:#null;color:#null;font-family:null;width:auto;padding:5px;max-height:100%;'><span><p>Having finally come close to following his dreams, the outbreak of Covid 19 pandemic came as jolt from the blue which not only halted his training regimen but also put a stop to his meagre income.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>Staring at slim to none employment opportunities and also possible starvation due to the nationwide lockdown, Baboo had to let go of his dreams and in a desperate attempt to ensure his family’s survival, he was forced to enrol as a casual labour under the government run MNREGA programme, a scheme that provides minimum wage employment to under privileged citizens. But despite these hardships, Baboo did not let go of his dream and soon was back in Bhopal, demonstrating his race-walking ability at national championships and slowly creating a name for himself in the sport.&nbsp;</p><p>A fantastic performance in the Asian Games was the result of all the struggles and unrelenting effort. In the mixed team event for the 35 kilometer race walk, Baboo and Manju Rani won bronze. Baboo's accomplishment served as both a personal achievement and a source of motivation for many others all around the country.</p></span><span></div><div style=' background:#FFFFFF;color:#000000;font-family:Verdana;width:auto;padding:5px;max-height:100%;'><span>Following his success at the Asian Games, Baboo plans to shift to the 20km race walk from the next season, showcasing his strategic approach to his sports career. Despite his humble and challenging beginnings, Baboo's journey reflects his indefatigable spirit and undying determination to achieve greatness.&nbsp;<span></div>

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