The Yacht Club of Hyderabad (YCH) changed the lives of two students belonging to the economically backward section as they were officially inducted into the Indian Navy.
Rasoolpura slum dwellers Erra Durga Prasad (20) and Gowtham Kankatla (21) struggled at the start of their training, achieved their dreams after a spell with YCH and are now sailors, the Times of India.
Prasad’s father is employed in a copy shop while his mother works as a cleaner in a motorcycle showroom.
On the other hand, Gowtham’s father was an alcoholic who died in 2007 due to liver cirrhosis. Later, her mother supported her family by taking on all the odd jobs she could find.
Prasad and Gowtham found it difficult to adjust during the initial sailing phase with the yacht club. Prasad’s first attempt at Pawna Lake in Pune, Maharashtra was not great as his boat was overturned by a storm following which lifeguards rescued him. He won a bronze medal at the India International Regatta in 2017, which established him at the number 1 position in India in the junior category.
He tried out for the Navy’s junior fleet in 2016 and was selected, and eventually he joined their senior fleet in 2021. Gowtham also struggled to keep his feet firmly on the Hussain Sagar lake boat in Hyderabad, Telangana. He won his first gold medal in 2016.
Gowtham’s mum remembers he joined YCH when he was ten, and she didn’t have much hope when Gowtham wanted to participate in water sports but eventually had to go with it.
“I never agreed to his request first because he was just a kid. He came to me asking that he wanted to do dangerous things in the waters. We didn’t expect him to going on. But Gowtham surprised us all,” Vijayalakshmi, Gowtham’s mother, told The Times Of India.
Both Prasad and Gowtham completed their training in Odisha and received their first posting in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
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