India's next sports champions are being handpicked from tribal communities

Poverty, societal restrictions, family pressure - many of these athletes have overcome great odds to do what they love


The Adibasi Rugby Team from Kolkata

Nikita PuriKavita Chowdhury
It’s evening at the Loyola High School in Mundgod, a town in north Karnataka located 385km from Bengaluru. Rizwan Bendigeri and Lakshmi G M, both athletics coaches, watch intently as a muscular young boy launches himself into the air, kicking up a cloud of dust beneath his feet. He runs for about 100 metres, swivels, and returns to his position to repeat the exercise. He does the routine over and over again. This is Sajid Yargatti, 13, who till recently would watch legendary athlete Usain Bolt on YouTube on loop on his mother’s phone. “Someday I’ll break Bolt’s record and win a medal for India,” declares the boy, as he spells out his name on the dirt ground.

Yargatti is

First Published: Jan 31 2020 | 8:37 PM IST

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