Father 'bonds' for daughter

Became a bonded labourer to make her a reputed cyclist


 Neelamma Malligavada of Gadag district, is selected to the women’s cycling team for Commonwealth Games 2010, which will be held in New Delhi.

Neelamma’s success story started when, ten years ago, her father Maruthi borrowed Rs 10,000 from a lender, in exchange for bonded labour and bought her a cycle. Her mother Kasturi, a coolie took charge of the household expenses. However that did not deter Maruthi and Kasturi  in providing good education to their three children.

When Neelamma was in eight standard, she happened to witness a cross-country cycle race and was fascinated by the skills exhibited by the cyclists. That triggered her dream of becoming a cyclist. She participated in small races and won prizes.

Her physical instructors M A Kanake and Ummannavar  recognised her talent and advised her to join a summer cycling training camp at Lakshmeshwara.

Neelamma proved her mettle  and drew the attention of international cyclist and coach Chandru Kurani and Karnataka Amateur Cycling Association secretary Sreeshaila Kurani. Nelamma was selected to train as a boarder at Bijapur Training Institute.

It was during this time that Maruthi had to  borrow Rs 10,000 and buy her a cycle. It was well worth the effort as Neelama participated in district, state and national level track and cross country cycle races and won several medals. She also was conferred with the Karnataka Olympic award 2004, State award in 2005, KIttur Chennamma award in 2006 and Ekalavya award in 2007. Neelamma was also offered job by the Karnataka State Police in 2007.

Now Neelamma is training in 10 km road cycling and individual competitions to participate in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

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