I am Haritha. I come from Puliguttapally village in Guntakal, Anantapur district, in
Andhra Pradesh. We are a family of five. I am the eldest of three siblings. I am a
cricketer and a final-year B.com student. I practice cricket at Anantapur Sports
Academy supported by Rural development trust.
My journey into sports began as a young kid with a love for games. I have participated
in sports since 3rd grade. Throughout my school days, I have played handball and
basketball and tried my hands at athletics with 100m, 200m, 400m, and Javelin
throw. During the summer of 10th grade, I joined the sub-centre and started training
in cricket. Soon my game improved. I started at the district level and went on to play at the State level.
I was also selected for the Nationals but the matches did not
happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I cannot wait for this opportunity to come
my way again. I also want to become a strength and conditioning coach. When doing
rehabilitation training for my shoulder injury, I helped some women around me with
training and it made me happy. I would like to help more women and female athletes
exercise and train better.
As a female athlete coming from a small village, many challenges have come my way.
In the beginning, girls from my village hardly participated in sports. Girls playing
sports were not looked at in good light. Although my parents supported my sporting
choices, they were initially more concerned about my studies and career. Now seeing
my interest and achievements in cricket, they are whole-heartedly supporting me.
With the new generation and more people watching and supporting women’s sports,
the mindset of people in my village has also changed. Now there are fewer
restrictions to girls participating in sports, and many girls have taken up sports.
Another major challenge that I face is periods. Bleeding for five days and also taking
part in matches under the hot Sun is very difficult. Having my periods on important
match days sometimes fills me with fear and doubts, along with physical pain.
Sometimes it gets difficult to manage it with training and travel. I mostly try to train
low and go easy on practice matches during my periods.
There are highs and lows as an athlete. My favourite moment as an athlete was
winning the sports championship trophy for my school when I was in 10th grade. I
participated in many events and either stood first or second. This helped in the
ultimate winning of the trophy. The same year, I also passed out with a 9.7 GPA. My
school awarded and honoured me for both of my achievements. This was a very happy
and proud moment for me. There have also been many lows. In these moments, I
have learned not to pity myself. I sit to reflect on my journey during these times and
realize how far I have come. Problems are part and parcel of life, and I always try to
give things my best.
Throughout this journey, my mother has been the foundation of my support system.
She has always stood by me and inspired me to do more. She makes me want to
work hard and achieve great things. My PE teachers and coaches have also been a
huge support. They have trained me and also helped me financially during tough
times. I am very grateful to all of them.