Barefoot to Bronze Ram Baboo's Story of Rising Against The Odds

Barefoot to Bronze: Story of Ram Baboo | Rising Against The Odds

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On one fine day in October last year, a story caught the attention of Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra. He took to X (Twitter) to express his admiration for Ram Baboo’s journey from an MGNREGA daily wager to an Asian Games bronze medalist. The journey of Ram Baboo touched his heart. He extended support to his family by providing them with a Mahindra & Mahindra vehicle for their farm.

Ram’s story isn’t just for people who love sports; it’s a tale of hard work and inspiration that can touch anyone’s heart. From his village to Hangzhou, China, where he won a bronze medal in the Asian Games, his journey is a powerful example of never giving up and rising against the odds. In a candid conversation with Ram, he shared his love for athletics and how he became an Asian Games Medalist.

Who is Ram Baboo: Humble Beginnings

Ram Baboo’s story began in a small village, Bahuara Bhairawa, in Uttar Pradesh. As his father was a daily wage labourer, he faced many financial difficulties. 

At 17, Ram left his village and went to Varanasi to use the training facilities in a stadium. There, he met his first instructor, Chandrabahan Yadav. He worked as a waiter in a nearby hotel to earn some money. Finally, he bought his first pair of sports shoes from the money he had saved while working. Buying these shoes was the first step toward his athletic goals.

Continuing to practice to become a racewalker, he lived in a rented room near the Sports Authority of India facility in Bhopal in 2019. He began his professional training under the ‘Come and Play Scheme.’ This Scheme encourages local sportspersons to play in SAI sports facilities or centers. However, the pandemic put a dent in his aspirations, and he had to go back home and work alongside his father on building roads as part of the MGNREGA project. But that didn’t fade his aspirations; he often recorded videos depicting his difficulties to inspire and motivate himself to keep going.

Athletic Journey of Ram Baboo: Story of Ram Baboo who rise against the odds

Ram Baboo returned to training to be a racewalker when the pandemic subsided. In February 2021, he won a 50km silver medal in the National Race Walk Championships which cleared his entry into the Army Sports Institute in Pune. At the institute, Basant Rana would coach him. 

Following the World Athletics’ decision to exclude the 50km event from its schedule, Baboo shifted to the 35km category. In September 2021, he won a gold medal at the National Open Championships. Just a few months after this achievement, he received an invitation to join the national training camp in Bengaluru. His career took off as he broke records at home and abroad, won bronze in the Asian Games and competed in international events.

Ram Baboo’s sporting career is marked by several outstanding international competition wins. On March 25, 2023, during the 43rd Dudinska 50 in Dudince, Slovakia, he demonstrated his skill in the 35-kilometre walk by setting a national record with a fantastic time of 2:29:56. On February 15, 2023, he won first place in the Indian Race Walking Championships in Ranchi with a time of 2:31:36. He triumphed once more on October 4, 2022, at the Indian National Games in Gujarat, finishing the 35-kilometer walk in 2:36:34. Baboo’s triumphs at the Indian Race Walking Championships in Ranchi and the National Open Athletics Championships in Bengaluru demonstrated his passion for racewalking even more.

Views of Ram Baboo

Ram shares, “I believe that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” His story perfectly captures what it means to overcome hardship, from the echoes of his modest upbringing in Bahuara Bhairawa to his thunderous victories on the international stage.

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