Vijayawada: A silver lining for Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu in Tokyo Olympics, brought her whole life to the fore. A giant leap in her sporting career has given wings for the 26-year-old Manipuri Olympian and people who helped her to make it this far have been making headlines. One such person is KV Koteswara Rao, a railway employee from the South Central Railway (SCR) zone’s Vijayawada division who contributed his bit as a masseur, dietician, and personal cook in grooming Mirabai.
“In 2018, during Indian national weightlifting camp at Patiala, he (Rao) met Chanu,” said a railway zone official on Friday. On receiving a call from Vijay Sharma, chief coach of the Indian weight lifting team back then, he extended his services. “Rao helped Mirabai with stretching exercises and massage therapies during her preparation for several international level competitions,” she said.
Impressed by his loyalty, discipline and trustworthiness, Sharma personally insisted in 2019 to assist Mirabai as her personal cook as well, including monitoring her diet plan along with daily stretching activity and massages. “He daily prepared dishes with great care and consciousness to her 49 kg category which requires more protein,” the official noted.
Rao also accompanied the weightlifting champion to several international competitions in Melbourne, Samoa, Thailand and other places. However, the Coronavirus pandemic emerged as a dampener, limiting the number of support staff to accompany elite athletes abroad. According to the railway zone official, Rao developed a close brother-like bond with Chanu.
He said the weight lifter is always humble, obedient and focused on her goals. Rao is eagerly waiting to join Chanu at the national camp in Patiala soon.
(With inputs from IANS)