Meet Rajesh Ramesh: A ticket checker who has made India proud in athletics at World Athletics Championships

In a spectacular display of determination and skill, the Indian 4×400 metre relay team achieved a historic milestone at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. The quartet consisting of Muhammed Anas, Amoj Jacob, Muhammed Ajmal Variyathodi and Rajesh Ramesh etched their names in the annals of Indian sports history.

During the high-stakes event on August 26, the unheralded Indian relay team not only smashed the Asian record but also created history by becoming the first Indian contingent to secure a spot in a World Championship final.

The heat they competed in featured formidable opponents, including the American team. However, instead of succumbing to pressure, the Indian athletes exhibited remarkable determination, delivering a performance that left both commentators and spectators awestruck.

Among these athletes, Rajesh Ramesh has a journey marked by resilience. Despite an early start in the field and even participating in the 2018 U20 World Championships, his career experienced setbacks due to injuries, work commitments, and the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just a couple of years ago, the notion of participating at this level of competition seemed distant for Ramesh. In 2020, he was stationed as a ticket checker at the Trichy Railway Station, a job he himself admitted he was underperforming in. Today, Ramesh stands as an inspiration, not only for his sportsmanship but also for his journey from a railway platform to a global athletics stage.

The 24-year-old athlete refused to be defeated. At the recent Federation Cup in Ranchi, Ramesh not only displayed exceptional prowess but also topped the 400m semifinals with a timing of 46.13 seconds, surpassing the Athletics Federation of India’s Asian Championships qualification mark of 46.17 seconds.

What makes Ramesh’s accomplishment even more remarkable is that he outperformed established athletes such as Arokia Rajiv, a bronze medallist at the Asian Games, and Mohammed Anas Yahiya, the current national record holder and 2018 Asian Games silver medallist. This incredible feat serves as a testament to his dedication and the hard work he has invested in resurrecting his career.

Other members of the team

Ajmal hails from Palakkad in Kerala. He originally pursued a career in football before transitioning to become a 100m sprinter, a shift he made just two years ago. For Anas, his victory in the 400m individual event in June represented a triumphant return following a period of setbacks as he had dealt with COVID-19 and injury.

The recent Saturday night victory held special significance for Jacob, as confirmed by his father, P A Jacob. He expressed, “He was grappling with immense frustration. Despite investing immense effort, the outcomes weren’t reflecting his dedication. He underwent some challenging times. Nevertheless, he has now found a superb team and is flourishing. I am profoundly satisfied with the remarkable progress he has achieved.”

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Updated: 28 Aug 2023, 11:15 AM IST



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