Small in stature but high on hope

From left: Devappa More, Barkath Ali, Rajanna CV, Chethan R, Prakash M, Thulisidhara GH and Venkatesh KY are all smiles ahead of their departure on Saturday for the fifth Dwarf World Games 2009 in Belfast, Ireland. DH photo

The squad features 10 athletes from Karnataka, including captain Venkatesh KY. “We have some very talented athletes and I am confident of a good outing,” said 2002 Arjuna Award winner and the team’s badminton coach, Ramesh Tikaram. “Since a majority (10) of the squad is from Karnataka, pre-tournament training was not a big hurdle. On an average, we practised for two hours every morning. The team looks well prepared, I am certain we will win at least a few golds.”

The July 26-August 2 Games will see competition in athletics, badminton, swimming, table tennis, hockey, football and basketball. India’s participation will be restricted to athletics and badminton, and will team up with players from other countries for events like basketball and football.

Winner of three gold, one silver and three bronze medals in the last edition of the Games, Venkatesh spoke highly of team, especially Devappa More. “He is one of the quickest I have seen. I am sure he will clinch the gold in the 100M dash.”

The Sports Authority of Karnataka rewarded each participant from the State with Rs 25,000. Paralympic Committee of India president R Rathan Singh said India would bid to host the next edition of quadrennial event.

DH News Service

The squad: Venkatesh KY (captain), Thulisidhara GH, Rajanna CV, Devappa More, Barkath Ali, Prakash M, Chethan R, Nagesh, Renu Kumar, Rajashekar, Sunil Pradhan, Nalini Arunachalam. Coaches: Shankar Iyer (athletics), Ramesh Tikaram (badminton).

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