Ramanna looks for a fresh start

Ramanna looks for a fresh start

Professional hazards

Ramanna looks for a fresh start

A slight negligence can sometimes cause serious damage. A Ramanna, a veteran starter (the one who fires in the air to signal a ‘go’ during track events) of the Karnataka State Amateur Athletics Association, is a man with 50 years of experience under his belt but a moment of indiscretion on his part may have just robbed him of his profession.

Ramanna’s life took a tragic turn this March when his services were summoned for the Karnataka State Reserve Police sports meet. While following the routine of getting the guns and corks ready, Ramanna met with an unfortunate accident that cost him his left eye and severely injured his left thumb.

“I was keeping all the corks inside a box but was finding it difficult to fill everything inside. To fit everything inside, I pressed the cap of the box hard with my left hand and the corks exploded, burning my left eye and left thumb,” recollected Ramanna, who was present at the recently concluded State Junior and Senior Athletics Championship at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

Ramanna is back to the athletics arena after a gap of six months but the 78-year-old is yet to recover completely. “I have lost sight in my left eye completely. I am undergoing physiotherapy for my thumb. Doctors have covered the thumb part with skin and they are hopeful of my recovery,” said Ramanna.

“The recovery after the incident was a tough phase but I found great support from many people who have known me for years. The Bangalore Urban District Athletics Association gave me Rs 25,000 for my treatment. Athletes from Baldwin Girls’ High School supported me with Rs 7000. I thank all of them who supported me,” he said.

A highly respected starter, Ramanna has lent his services to many athletic meets across the country in his long career, the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi being one of the prominent ones. Known for devising his own pistols for the job, Ramanna feels the profession has no danger associated with it and it was only his negligence that resulted in such an incident.  
Though he was seen at the finish line during the State meet, Ramanna is not fully back in action. Despite his injuries, Ramanna vows to get back to his duties soon.

“I can’t quit this profession because I can’t let go of something that I know. I love this profession and want to keep offering my services to it. Right now, I am making a special gun, that can perform duties of a microphone as well. If I succeed, the gun will make life easy for a starter,” he concludes.    

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