Former Maoist's daughter to represent India at international volleyball tournament

| Updated: May 17, 2017 02:29 IST

Malkangiri (Odisha) [India], May 16 (ANI): The daughter of a former Maoist has been selected for the under-18 national volleyball team who will take part in the international volleyball tournament to be held in China in August this year. Fifteen-year-old Sirisa Kurami, the daughter Chelemma Kurami, was selected for the national team for her outstanding performance at junior national volleyball championship camp held at Ernakulam in Kerala. Sirisa is a student of Government (SSD) Girls High School in Kalimela run by the SC and ST Department and has been undergoing training in the district sports hostels at Malkangiri during her vacations for the last four years. She has won more than 10 medals representing the district and the state at various levels. A native of a naxalite-prone area, Sirisa had to overcome various obstacles to fulfil her dream of representing India globally. Speaking on the occasion, an elated Sirisa while drawing upon the hardships faced during training said she would like to see other girls from the area represent India as well. "There are many girls like me who play well. I would like to help them represent India. They should be encouraged by the authorities and their families," she told ANI. Seeing Sirisa's passion for the sport, District Sports Officer Gyanedra Prasad Badoi decided to provide better facilities to Sirisa, as he was confident of her skills and their contribution to the Indian team. "Sirisa's selection is a very happy and prestigious moment for us. Right from the beginning, she was very passionate about playing. It was my decision to make sure she is well-trained," he said. Badoi further asserted that the Odisha Government and officials should encourage other girls and boys to pursue education or sports rather than getting involved in Naxalite operations. Sirisa's mother Chelemma, who was wanted by the police of both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha in many false cases, has served jail sentence for at least six years in both the States. She was released from Malkangiri jail in 2000. Later, she approached the then collector Chitra Arumugam who appointed her as a cook in Kalimela Government (SSD) Girls High School. Since then, she has devoted her entire time to her two daughters and has been striving hard to lead a comfortable life. (ANI)