When her passion burnt bright

Looking Back

When her passion burnt bright

Passionate: Reeth Abraham

Growing up in Mysore and studying in Christ the King Convent, Reeth Abraham lived to run, jump and compete on the track. The sports field was her oyster and when she later moved to Bangalore’s Maharani College, her passion burned brighter.
Under the tutelage of Sunil, her coach, who later became her husband, she blossomed into a star athlete.

Today the Arjuna awardee and National Champion in track and field looks back on a rich and fulfiling athletic career with great satisfaction but rues the fact that young people are not drawn to sport in a big way. “Times have changed since we were young athletes playing purely for love of the game. Monetary rewards were negligible at best and big brand endorsements unheard of in our time,” she adds.

“Kids today want guarantees of success and quick rewards before they commit themselves to the training and discipline and sacrifices one must make  to become a professional athlete.”

Still very much on track with her fitness regime, Reeth still has the gait and build of an athlete . Not difficult to imagine how she managed to break a national record barely ten months after her first baby was born. 

Marriage to her coach Sunil was an early decision she made when she was barely 19. “Having a husband so intensely involved in my sporting career was something of a mixed blessing.  Of course it helped that he understood the demands of competitive sports but there is always a flip side.If something didn’t go well at training, it carried on into the home and vice versa.” she laughs.

Now with two grown up children, Shilka and Shamir, who are poised on the thresholds of young adulthood , and a full time job with Corporation bank life is hectic.

“Both my kids are not into sports in spite of having a flair. It’s sad but symptomatic of most young people today. They have too many distractions, too much pressure in academics and very little time to balance everything,” she emphasises, adding.
“In our day 60 percent marks in an exam was considered high achievement.Today's obsession with scores and the pressure on kids is insane .We need to revamp the system and encourage sports achievers making it easier for them to cope with training and studies.People can’t do both so end up giving up sports.”

Reeth and Sunil started an athletic training programme for young children called "SURE Athletic Movement". Unfortunately it didn't do well at senior level because of commitment issues. She hopes things will change soon and young athletes will be inspired to compete and win international competitions.

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