Acing not only at school, this young eleven year old lad has done the city proud by acing at the All India Tennis too, by ranking in the top ten.
What started out as an activity of fun for six year old Dhruv Advaith Kolagatla has today become his passion. ‘The tennis courts were close to my workplace and so Dhruv and me would head there every evening’ reveals Dr. Aparna, his mother. One thing led to another and soon a local tournament organised at the camp had all the kids participating. Dhruv played too, and when he managed to reach the semis, his parents and coach felt that he was hard working and had a talent that could be honed. Dhruv took his AITA card and by the time he was seven years old, he started playing tournaments.
It wasn’t a cakewalk from there, and it took hours of tough practice, and forgoing many everyday joys. ‘Dhruv has had to give up on many things like TV and electronic gadgets, in fact he hasn’t gone on a school picnic and even missed many birthday parties of his friends’, his father Madhu Kolagatla shares. But then, he has achieved what many can only dream of. From a rank in 600s, today he stands at the All India ranking of 6 in the Under-12 category players. He is one of the youngest players to have played at the nationals at the age of nine years too. Not only that, he aces at school every time too and has won awards at both NSO and IEO Olympiads. Proudly showing us the shelf which adorns his trophies he says, ‘I won all these for both sports and academics.’
His schedule is packed and he’s up by 5:30AM. After an hour of running and basketball at the ground, which he practices for fitness, he heads to school. In the evening, he heads to his academy and plays tennis from 3PM to 5:30PM. He studies at his tuition from 6PM to 8PM and sleeps by 9PM.
Tennis isn’t a one-person sport, Dhruv and his family share that many people help to make it possible for him to play. His coaches Babji and Satish at the academy help Dhruv hone his skills. His Principal and teachers at Visakha Valley school help him keep pace with his studies while his friends Snehita and Yuvan provide the school notes when Dhruv has to miss classes due to tournaments. Ask Dhruv and he’s quick to point out the support of his parents. ‘My dad supports me and never loses hope on me.’ The family too has had to make many changes and take decisions. ‘One major decision for us as vegetarians was supplementing his diet with non-vegetarian food to improve his protein intake’ reveals his mother.
With a usual fascination for cheesy pizzas and chocolates, Dhruv is gradually becoming conscious of the food he eats. He has also become aware of techniques in his game and is learning not only from his coaches but also from the experiences he has at different tourneys. The challenges of age fraud, lack of good sports infrastructure, sports psychologists and fitness trainers are a drawback, but despite many hurdles, he has created a place for himself in the top ten list.
Ask him his future plans and the Lego Robotic cum science fiction fan shares that he wants to play tennis and go to a regular school too. With the RTW (Road To Wimbledon) Tournament at Chandigarh next on his agenda, he shares that his dream is to play at the Center court of Wimbledon. And does he have a message for his friends? ‘You must do some physical activity for an hour everyday’ he solemnly advises.
Proud to feature this young prodigy, we at Yo! Vizag are truly impressed by his dedication to the sport which he adeptly balances with his academics. Looking forward to him bringing home many more laurels, we wish him all the best.