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Golden boy:Odia village boy glitters

Kendrapara: A 17-year-old village lad of the district overcame poverty and grabbed gold in youth commonwealth weightlifting championship in Cape Town, South Africa. Parents of the golden boy Achyutananda Sahoo own an acre of land and struggled to make both ends meet.

Sahoo got gold medal in 62-kg category, thereby bringing glory to the country and the state. The locals in nondescript Manipura village under Nahanga gram panchayat erupted in joy following the success of the local boy. Achyutananda, the only son of his parents, had faced hurdles in obtaining passport on time. His gold-winning feat merits special mention given the fact that he successfully overcame the vicious cycle of poverty to excel in international event.

"We are poor people. I never dreamt that my son would travel abroad and make us proud. I am very happy. I have no words to describe. It`s God`s blessings for which my son could climb the ladder of success," Bairagi Chandra Sahoo, father of the gold medal winner, said. "I have 1.5 acre of farmland. I have four children,"he added.

"Achyut is the eldest. The rest of the children are girls and younger to Achyut. The crop return has not been enough to make both ends meet. Thus to augment the income, I have a small grocery shop," Bairagi rued. "Achyut informed me of his grand success over phone on Tuesday. He was crying," Premalata Sahoo, mother of the champion weightlifter, said.

Achyut was not good at studies. He loved playing volleyball and other sports. I used to beat him up for neglecting studies. It was Narayan Chandra Barik, the village volleyball coach who had spotted his talent and honed his skill, he said.

"I found the boy hardworking and talented to be a good weightlifter. I had impressed upon the then district sports officer to send him for selection in state sports hostel. He was selected and was enrolled in Berhampur`s government-run sports hostel," Narayan Chandra Barik, Sahoo`s local mentor, said.

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