Twin sisters Vithya and Nithya Ramraj eye Asian Games glory
Vithya and Nithya figure in the sports ministry's list of 65 track and field athletes for the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games. Vithya will compete in 400m hurdles and Nithya in 100m hurdles
Born within minutes of each other, twin sisters Vithya and Nithya Ramraj lived cheek by jowl in a sports hostel, played together, and will be in close proximity as they represent India in the Asian Games.
Twins making it to the Indian team in any sport is rare but Vithya and Nithya, belonging to a poor family near Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore, did just that, with their homemaker mother being the person behind their success story.
Vithya and Nithya figure in the sports ministry's list of 65 track and field athletes for the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games. Vithya will compete in 400m hurdles and Nithya in 100m hurdles.
"Nithya and I are twins and we have qualified for the Asian Games. Our mother Meena is so happy hearing that we are going together for the Asian Games," Vithya, who ran the 400m race at the Indian Grand Prix 5 here, told PTI in an interview on Sunday.
"I am younger to Nithya, in fact I am the youngest. We are three sisters, the oldest is Sathya who is 27." She said her mother was the brain behind the two twins taking to the sport. Her tempo-driver father was earlier the lone bread earner of the family. Now, Vithya is an Indian Railway employee, while Nithya is with Income Tax department.
"My mother is just a homemaker and we are in athletics because of our mother. People asked you are three women, how will you survive. My mother decided we have to do something. So, she put us in a sports hostel," said the 24-year-old Vithya.
She won the 400m hurdles gold in both the Federation Cup in May and the National Inter-State Championships in June in Bhubaneswar, where she clocked her personal best of 56.01 seconds.
Ramraj was fourth with a time of 13.55 seconds.
"My favourite is 400m flat race, but then, I shifted to 400m hurdles. I also breached the 400m qualifying time set by the Athletics Federation of India but my name was not there in the list." Asked why she chose athletics, she simply said, "It is individual thing. It's whether an individual is good for sports..." Nithya admitted that her older twin sister can run faster than her and so she took up the 100m hurdles.
"She is racy (faster), so she wants 100m hurdles. We are similar but she is bit bulkier than me." What is their common goal? "I told her we have to go to the Asian Games this time. If we miss this Asian Games, the next is in 2026 and we may have been married by then. Something may happen, we may get injured. I hope next year also, we will go to the Olympics together," Vithya signed off.