RYTHM Foundation and Usha School of Athletics help Prathibha Varghese chase her athletic dreams
Prathibha Varghese grew up admiring her father who used to be a sprinter and jumper during his school days. Unfortunately, he had to abandon his dream to pursue sports further due to financial constraints. Instead, he went into farming to support his family.
Her family lives on modest means in Wayanad, Kerala, India.
Prathiba is a talented athlete and she dreams of being able to compete in the Olympics someday. Her physical education teacher at school recognised her athletic talent, and helped her to enroll in the Usha School of Athletics in 2017 at the age of 13. The school is the brainchild of PT Usha, the legendary track and field queen of India who is a role model for many young girls, especially in Kerala, her home state.
“I am focused on the 400m event (individual and relay) on the tracks and have been able to improve my strength, stamina and timing after being under Ms Usha’s training,” Prathibha said.
Since joining the Usha School of Athletics, Prathibha has won numerous sporting accolades at inter-school, state and district levels.
Prathibha won two Gold medals in the Under-16 girls’ category in the 400-metre race and Medley Relay team at the 31st South Zone Junior Athletics Championship 2019. Prathibha has shown much promise and improvement and has also been selected to Khelo India pool of athletes in the past year.
Khelo India is a flagship initiative of the national sports ministry that aims to identify and support up and coming talent in various sports.
Some of her other achievements on the tracks at the national level include bagging a gold medal in 4x400m relay at the 65th National School Games 2019-20, gold medal in 4x400m relay at the Khelo India youth games in January 2020, bronze medal in 400m at the National Junior Athletic meet, November 2019 and silver medal in the medley relay at the same meet.
Prathibha is a rare example of an exceptional and committed athlete who also excels in academics! She scored A+ in all the 10 subjects of the Kerala State SSLC examination.
“I am overjoyed with my SSLC results and so are my parents. During hectic athletic seasons, it is really hard to stay up and study after tiring sessions on the track, but I always managed to set aside some time for my books. It was all worth it,” she said.
RYTHM Foundation joined hands with the Usha School to support talented young girls from financially limited families to help develop their full potential. We take care of all their expenses including education, food, accommodation, sports kits, travel, medical care, training equipment and other miscellaneous expenses.
The aim is to take the financial burden away from the athletes and the school so that they can focus 100% on developing their talent.