Praveen Chitravel

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Bronze at Youth Olympics

Vivek Krishnan, Farm labourer’s son wins Youth Oly bronze, October 18, 2018: The Times of India

Life hasn’t been easy for 17-year-old Praveen Chitravel so far, but it all seemed to be falling into place for the Thanjavur boy. Praveen, a farm labourer’s son, won a triple jump bronze in the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires that gave India their second medal in the track and field events.

Praveen recorded a distance of 15.68m to finish fifth in the Stage 2 competition on Tuesday night. However, his third-placed finish in Stage 1 with a jump of 15.84m enabled him to win bronze courtesy a combined effort of 31.52m.

“He is extremely happy with the medal. It’s a great achievement by him and an extremely proud moment for all of us. He, however, felt he could have done better. He was dejected with the way things went in Stage 2,” coach Indira Suresh told TOI.

It was only in March 2016 that Praveen took to the discipline after dabbling in multiple events previously. He made the switch after a sudden growth spurt on the advice of his coach and he hasn’t looked back since. Earlier this year, he won gold at the inaugural Khelo India School Games and this medal reaffirmed the decision to take up the discipline.

Praveen’s humble background and financial plight mirrors those of many athletes that come from the remotest corners in the country. The fact that he has been able to overcome many of these obstacles is largely due to the efforts of his coach.

Praveen was introduced to Indira in 2012, when he came to Chennai after being selected in the then TN chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s Centre of Excellence scheme in the state. “I have been coaching him since 2012 when he was selected in the state government’s Centre of Excellence scheme. He is an extremely focused individual and will not be content with this. I have spoken to him after his bronze and he is disappointed that he couldn’t do better. But a bronze medal also is a big achievement,” Indira said.

“And it’s not just me, the national coaches who were training him before the event were also expecting him to win a medal. He has been around the 16m mark in the lead-up to the event, which is good enough to win you a medal at the youth level. So it wasn’t a major surprise that he has achieved this,” she added.

While Praveen’s formative years were spent training at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai, he moved to Nagercoil in February last year when she was later transferred there.

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