Medal in, not chicken meal

Tribal athlete Tannu Sanga wins his first state-level gold for Ranchi district

By Jayesh Thaker in Ranchi
  • Published 11.02.19, 2:09 PM
  • Updated 11.02.19, 2:09 PM
  • a min read
  •  
Tannu Sanga with his gold medal in Ranchi on Sunday Picture by Manob Chowdhary

For tribal athlete Tannu Sanga, 21, February 10 will be a red letter day for life.

Tannu won his first state-level gold in 400m hurdles for Ranchi district on Day One of the inaugural State Games at Ranchi’s mega sports complex in Hotwar on Sunday. Tannu clocked 55.63 seconds for a podium finish in the senior boys’ category, tripping Sunil Kumar Yadav (57.24 seconds) and Balraj Singh (57.30 seconds), both from Ramgarh.

A Namkum boy from Jorar Bustee, Tannu however knows he has more hurdles coming up.

Getting his hands on a hot meal of rice and chicken is one. The middle son of a poor farmer, his dietary requirements are a source of worry for his family. He needs a protein-rich diet but protein doesn’t come cheap. “My father Roshan Sanga has a small holding. We can’t afford chicken regularly, forget supplements or protein shakes” he said. “For breakfast, I have two boiled eggs and a bowl of pulses for my protein intake. Even two boiled eggs are a drain on my family’s budget but I need that as a professional athlete,” he said, adding that he makes do with chapati-sabzi for lunch and dinner.

The BA part 1 student of Ramlakhan Singh Yadav College in Ranchi pedals 16km from his home to the Hotwar facility every day and trains for three hours in the morning.

Though Tannu is 21, three years older than what trainees at the day boarding athletics centre at Hotwar need to be, he continues to train there. The coach of the facility, Arvind Kumar, has taken the youth under his wing. “This boy has potential to make it big. He has speed and strength needed in hurdles. I am training him in hurdles since the past nine months and his progress is for all to see. It would be great if talents like him get support from the state government, at least for dietary needs,” the coach said.

Tannu’s younger brother Ramchandra is also a promising runner who picked up 400m gold at the Junior National Meet in Himachal Pradesh and a bronze in Khelo India Games in Pune, both in 2018.

For now, Tannu is on top of the world. “Bahut khush hoon. Pura vishwas tha ki gold jitunga (Am very happy. Was confident of winning gold),” Tannu said, clasping his medal soon.

So, chicken dinner tonight? He smiled shyly.