Nagarajan has unearthed at St. Joseph's Sports Academy . The 19-yearold Chennai girl has the talent to become Tamil Nadu's golden girl one day but she had a particular liking for silver at the recent SAF junior athletics meet in Ranchi where Deepika finished second in the 100m (12.22s), 100m hurdles (14.75s) and 4x100 relay.
Coach Nagarajan isn't surprised by his ward's excellence in the 100m and high hurdles.
“Sprinters have the natural talent to clear hurdles and Deepika is no exception.
We all know that speed is the bread and but ter of sprinters.
Their ability to generate p o w e r h e l p s them do well at hurdles,“ he added.
Deepika said it's taxing to concentrate on events that demand different set of skills.
“My focus is on the 100m. I took up the hurdles only after watching my seniors in training. It's difficult to give my all in both events. The short sprint takes away a lot of energy from me. Naturally, my performance drops in the next event,“ added the final year B.Com student at MOP Vaishnav.
The coach seconded his ward's take on her strength.
“I have always felt that she is a b e t t e r sprinter than a hurdler. Her physique is more suited to the workload of the 100m and she has a bright future,“ Nagarajan said.
Deepika's decision to try her hand at the hurdles may have been sparked by the stellar achievements of G. Gayathry, the brightest girl to have come out of St. Joseph's in the last five years. Even though the teenager has professed her love for the 100m, her achievements in the 100m hurdles speak for them selves. Deepika has a hat-trick of hurdles gold medals from national junior championships. “I always looked up to Gayathry apart from K.N. Priya, who set the benchmark for St. Joseph's athletes.
Gayathry and I practise together regularly. Her inputs have been invaluable. My father Parasuraman and coach have also been great motivators,“ Deepika said.
After her praiseworthy show in the junior category, Deepika now looks to make a mark in the open section. As her focus shifts towards the upcoming Madras University meet at the Nehru Stadium from December 3, she faces the prospect of competing with her “idol“ Gayathry . “I'm thrilled to be participating in the event alongside Gayathry . Her presence means that I would have to be at my best.
Competing with her will push me all the way. I'm looking forward to the challenge,“ Deepika added.