Having born and brought up under the shadow of guns in Naxal-hit Bijapur district of Chattisgarh, Aruna Punem and Sunita Hamla spent their early life cutting woods and plucking flowers to raise their family.
These two tribal teens have presently grabbed the eyeballs after they found a game--Softball--to shape their life.
Their passion to engage in sport not only landed them at the Bijapur Sports Academy, but Punem and Hamla are now also set to represent India at the global level during the Seventh Asian Junior Championships, Philippines.
The two girls will also be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 14.
Talking to ANI, Punem said that she has seen PM Modi only on Television, adding that it would be a proud moment for her to meet him in person, when he visits Bijapur.
"Earlier, I used to pluck Tendu leaves, Mahua flowers and chop wood to make a living. After Bijapur sports academy opened, my coach wanted me to join it. I have been playing Softball here. I played my first national in Hyderabad then I played my second national in Rajnand Village where I picked a silver medal. I have been selected in the Indian team and the tournament will be held in Philippines. I used to watch Prime Minister Narendra Modi on TV and used to listen to him on radio. I have not met him so far. It will be a proud moment to meet Prime Minister Modi when he visits Bijapur," she said.
Hamla, on the other hand, said that she is excited to head into Philippines for the Asian Junior Softball Championship.
"We used to pluck Tendu leaves, Mahua flowers earlier. But after Bijapur Sports academy has opened, we got to know that we can have future in sports. We are now heading to Philippines for the Asian Junior Softball Championship and I am very excited about the same," she said.
Meanwhile, the duo's coach Sopan Karenwar revealed that that Punem and Hamla used to be mediocre in their games till last year, but they worked exceptionally well to improve their game.
"When the girls joined the academy in May last year, their game was mediocre, but then they worked exceptionally hard. Their improvement in the game left everyone amazed," he said.
Sopan further informed that the two girls were selected for the Seventh Asian Junior Championships, from 70 softball players all over the country.
After meeting the Prime Minister this Saturday, Sunita and Aruna will leave for Philippines on May 8, along with 18 other players. (ANI)