SANGUEM: Babu Gaonkar had been regularly running through an unmotorable road to the Pali waterfall in Netravali covering a distance of around 8 kilometres and sometimes to the hilly area of Verlem almost on regular basis.
On Thursday, the birthday boy became Goa’s golden boy by bagging Goa’s first gold medal in laser run (modern pentathlon) which involved a run of 600 metres and shooting (10 metres distance).
Babu Gaonkar then teamed up with Seeta Gosavi to win the mixed relay silver in modern pentathlon.
Babu makes his family proud
The Goankar residence in Netravali was abuzz with visitors, with people from the village flocking to greet Babu’s parents, Arjun and Aparna, and sister, Arpita, as villagers celebrated the success of Babu. Babu has been an avid runner and despite many hurdles and with no facility whatsoever in the village for athletes, he made his village and Goa proud by winning two medals.
Arjun and Aparna had always supported Babu in pursuing sports despite many hurdles he had to face in getting trained.
“Babu is a graduate from the Government College of Commerce, Arts and Science, Quepem, and has been training in the village since last many years by running through the unmotorable road proceeding to Pali waterfall in the village, covering a distance of around 8 kms,” said Aparna.
“He would also go running in the hilly area of Verlem on a regular basis. Babu, however, did not have much experience in shooting but managed after consistent practice involving laser shooting over the past two months,” said Aparna.
Arjun and Aparna admitted that they would, at times, advise Babu not to run extensively as she feared it could have affected his energy.
“Babu, however, knew his forte and continued to run across the challenging terrain almost on a daily basis,” said Arjun, a tractor mechanic who manages his garage. Incidentally, Netravali village does not have any sports facilities to train the village youth, except for an incomplete ground which awaits completion since the last many years.
Babu has won several awards at the State and college events, as is evident from the many trophies and medals he has in his home.