MALKANGIRI:Young Sirisa Kurami is the talk of the town, thanks to cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar who heaped praise on the 15-year-old volleyball player of the tribal-dominated district in a tweet on Tuesday.
Daughter of a former woman Maoist Chelamma Kurami, Sirisa is, however, unfazed by the new-found attention. Her life revolves around the District Sports Hostel here where she has been undergoing training for the last four years. Her daily routine involves rigorous training and practice sessions
"I came to know about the tweet from my coach sir. Praise coming from a legend like Sachin is unbelievable," says the young player.
A native of Kamarguda village under Undrukonda panchayat in Podia block of the district, Sirisa is a member of the under-18 national volleyball team that would participate in the upcoming Volleyball Girls' U-18 World Championship scheduled next year.
"I am preparing hard and hopeful of performing well in the championship. I wish to touch the height Tendulkar achieved in his career," says a confident Sirisa. After her return from Maharashtra after attending the training camp at Aurangabad from May 23 to June 27, she has been back to the grind for the upcoming World Championship.
To fulfil her dream of representing the country, Sirisa had to overcome various obstacles. The first odd was to overcome the stigma of a Maoist member's daughter.Her mother Chelamma had joined the Red rebels in the early 90s. However, she quit the outfit in 1994 to join the mainstream in protest against the mindless killing of innocents by the Maoists.
Wanted by police of both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha in many false cases, she served six years in jail in both the States. Chelamma was released from Malkangiri jail in 2000.
Later, she approached the then Malkangiri Collector Chitra Arumugam who appointed her as a cook in Kalimela Government (SSD) Girls' High School.
Since then, Chelamma has stood like a pillar of strength for her two daughters and ensured that they get all necessary support to realise their dreams. Sirisa was selected to represent India after her stupendous performance at the national volleyball championship camp held at Ernakulam in Kerala from April 19 to 24 last year.
The 15-year-old is hopeful of performing well in the championship. "So far, I have played 12 national volleyball tournaments. With hard work, I hope to bring glory for my district, State and the nation," she says.
District Sports Officer and her coach Gyanendra Prasad Badoi said Sirisa has won more than 10 medals representing the district and Odisha at various levels. She will attend a special training camp at New Delhi later this month for the World Championships, Badoi added.
A native of a Naxal-prone area, Sirisa completed her primary education from Padgangpalli school. Later, she took admission in Kalimela Government (SSD) Girls' High School, run by the SC and ST Department, and cleared the HSC examination. Her mother Chelamma is working as a cook in the school.
Source : http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/oct/12/legends-tweet-fuels-her-quest-for-volleyball-glory-1671640.html535