I am Gokul Raghoji Yeole , Age 22, a small town boy who dreamed big to represent India in Athletics as a sprinter and made it come true. Facing many hardships along the way the journey now feels worth it. Here I will share my story through My Journey :Gokul Raghoji Yeole
Early Life at village
I was born in a small tribal village Rahu in Amravati district of Maharashtra . My village only had population of around 600-700 persons back in late 90’s . My village was even devoid of basic facilities like school ,electricity and housing back then. My father works as farmer in farms of other people and my mother is housewife. I have three sisters, all younger to me. My school was only up to 3rd standard after that I had to move to nearby village Dahendri, Amravati for schooling upto 12th standard. This town was 20 km far from my village so I decided to stay at my maternal uncle’s house who lived in same village. He is the owner of small wheat flour shop where I use to help him in petty works.
Years passed on and I successfully completed my 12th Class and came back to my village in 2013. My parents then began to insist me to apply for government jobs wherever I was eligible to apply after passing 12th . So I started applying for Police and army jobs and started to prepare for physical tests for the same. While I was going through my practices a teacher visited our village from Amravati whose name was Pawan Boke and use to guide students who were applying for Written and physical test for the competitive exams. One day while I was practicing, I got his attention. He was the first one who was impressed by my speed and advised me to take up Athletics(sprinting) as a career option. This was probable the first time when I got to know that one could make a career and be successful in this sport.
First step towards My Journey : Gokul Raghoji Yeole
Since that day It was a dream to achieve big in this sport. But I had to convince my parents for the same . However they had different plans for me ,they told me to give up on higher studies due to financial problems and told me to work in farms. But something inside me was just stopping me to give up that easily. I decided to run away from home to Amravati but I did not had money even to buy bus tickets. Luckily I got a job of cleaning at some marriage ceremony in nearby village which helped me to travel to Amravati.
Survival at Amravati:-
Life doesn’t seemed to become any easier in Amravati . I had no money , shelter etc. however I did not give up and found a hotel which gave me job of helper and kept my wages as 100 Rs for working 12 hours a day. I had to do works like cleaning dishes, sweeping etc . Slowly I found a place to live along-with my friend and we use to share the expenses and rent.
I also had plans to join college for higher studies but that would have meant me getting kicked out of my job. So I thought of sticking to work for time being and getting enrolled in an open University at Amravati (where I could study from home and just had to appear in exam time).
My responsibilities towards my family:-
Being the eldest among children I had the responsibility towards my parents and sisters. I worked hard In hotel and over the course of 03 years learnt the work . Slowly and gradually my owner recognized my dedication towards work and now I am the manager in same hotel. They pay me Rs 6000/- per month . Saving small amount over the period of time I managed to built a pucca house for my parents in my village (previously we did not had our own house). I even got my eldest sister married last year. I wonder what would have been our financial situation If I hadn’t run from home that day.
So now it was the time when I could entirely focus on my career as a sprinter. I began to watch Usain Bolt and Sandeep Maheshwari videos on You Tube from where I got my motivation up and going. I tried to learn tips and tricks to improve my timing by looking at Usain Bolt’s videos as I had no coach , nor I had the money to afford one.
My First trial:-
I use to regularly practice at Amravati Stadium where I again got attention of a professor namely Atul Patil . Impressed with my sprinting he suggested me to go to Mumbai for a trial . I knew that I had found a way to come in contact with people involved in this sport. So I went to Mumbai ,but failed in trial. But from their on the doors got open up and I came to know about association through internet that gives opportunity to budding talents. That’s how I came in contact with Mission Olympic association India in year 2016 who asked me to sent them my sprinting videos.
I sent my 100 meter sprinting videos to the association and got a call to participate in Indian mission Olympic games which was held between two nations i.e. India and Nepal. I was among the 30 athletes who represented India and I made my nation proud by winning a Gold medal for my country in 100 meters sprint . My first professional race and BOOM. I did it.
Milestones since then
I then participated in Gramin Olympic association tournament ,2017 and won a Silver Medal. One big reason for not winning gold was running on synthetic track for the fist time in life. I was use to only sand tracks and synthetic track was all new to me . After then I won Gold in National Mission Olympic Game in same year.
My Fitness and Diet mantra:-
Coming from a poor family and place which did not have any infrastructure to keep health and fitness in check, I always felt that I am way behind my competitors. However I did not lose hope and began to train at home and outdoors . I had my self prepared exercise plan including Push ups ,pull ups , squats ,dips etc. I always believe in myself and lack of resources can never be the reason for not achieving your goals ,Its the lack of willpower which does it.
I never had money in surplus to take care of my diet . I always relied on cheap protein sources like eggs ,spinach, legumes etc to fulfill my macro nutrients requirements. However through the passage of my journey I got to know about various weight loss and muscle building program to keep myself fit , which helped me a great deal. My hotel owner also supported me when he got to know about my dedication towards my goal and thanks to him that now I get good nutritional food from my hotel which include soups, salad, chicken etc. I am thankful to my owner for supporting me a great deal. He even made me to only work as a part timer from evening 06 P. M to 11 P.M so I could concentrate on my training .
My timing when I started was 11.5 seconds and now after 02 years my best timing is 11.03 seconds.
Challenges faced by Indian Athletes:-
We are not behind other countries in terms of talent. But we are devoid of much needed support and infrastructure. We don’t have good coaches and even if we do well we face baisness at certain points in our career which needs to be rectified.
My only aim is to represent my country in Commonwealth and Olympic games and stand on Podium holding my flag and saluting to My national Anthem.
I am very thankful to mykhelbook for reaching me to know my story My Journey :Gokul Raghoji Yeolewhich can be helpful for people like me out their. Mykhelbook has started great initiative to uplift sports and sports persons in the country and wish them luck in their initiative.
I am Shweta Singh, Director and CEO at Kirola Sports Private Limited. I am a sports and fitness enthusiast and have played three sports at National level including Basketball, High jump ,Taekwondo .I also started training in Mixed Martial Arts last year . I always knew that health ,fitness and motivation are pillar of success for every individual. Mykhelbook team will help you to stay fit and healthy through our blogs . We also aim to motivate you all through motivational stories of lesser known people ,about their struggles and achievements through our blogs .