Renu has taken to water like a duck

Renu has taken to water like a duck

FOCUS ON SPORTS TALENT

Renukacharya Hodmani

Renukacharya Hodmani always had a special affinity with water. As the story goes, as a four-year-old he jumped into the pool because he saw how much his sister, Vijayalakshmi, was enjoying swimming.

The only stumbling block, though, was that he did not know how to swim. His father narrates the story with a sense of nostalgic humour. 

“I would take him to his sister’s swimming classes daily,” says Chandrakant Hodmani. “One day, I had gone to the loo and he jumped into the pool. People warned me not to bring him again there. I kept him at home for 15 days. But he would attempt go on his own. So I had no other option but to enroll him also in the academy.”

That was the start. Renu, as he is fondly called, started his stint in swimming under Bharath Bushan at the Gulbarga Aqua Association. As the Bidar boy moved up the ranks, his performance was noted and Dolphin Academy soon came calling.

It’s been nearly three years since he has been with the academy and the accolades have only grown.

The Gurukul Vidya Kendra student started with a solo bronze medal, swimming in Group IV, in his first ever Sub-junior Nationals in 2017. He added a silver and two bronze medals to that tally, along with two relay gold medals, the following year before capping off 2019 with four silver and two bronze medals in his first year in Group III.

The turn of the decade has not slowed him a bit either as he won 3 gold, 1 bronze and two relay golds in the recently concluded 32nd South Zone Swimming Championship. 

“He is completely being taken care of by Nihar (Ameen) and Madhu sir,” says his father, who is a teacher in a government primary school in Bidar. The job means he and his wife Parvathi, stay away from their son.

“I stay here alone,” quips Renu. “My parents keep coming to meet me as much as possible. Sometimes I stay with my coach Madhu sir,” he adds.

They see it as a necessary sacrifice to help Renu emulate his idol - Virdhawal Khade - and achieve his Olympic dreams. Khade, of course, trains in the same facility.

“In the evenings, Virdhawal is there and whenever their workout ends if there are any corrections in our strokes he tells us,” says Renu excitedly.

The two-hour early morning swimming sessions, gym sessions four days a week are all part of it. Renu even has access to all the technological help at the Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance facility, where he works on his balance and core twice a week.

This year, he will graduate to Group II, it’s yet another step for the young swimmer. But with steadfast belief and unshakable confidence he says: “I want to participate in the Olympics.”

That of course, is the goal.

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