“Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”- Mark Twain
There are times when you meet someone and get completely blown away by their brilliance. On the 20th of April, I conducted an interview for Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh with a certain young individual and after the interview I couldn’t believe that a talent of such magnitude exists in our country.
He is only 11 years old, but he has done something that many people only dream of doing in their entire lifetime.
Devi Sri Prasad Gandupalli, the young limbo skater from Tirupathi has 4 Guinness world records to his name. He created history by skating 115.6 metres, both backward and forward under 60 SUV’s. His other two records were created by skating under bars, an astonishing 184 metres forward and 167 metres backward. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the International University of Higher Martial Arts Education, USA in 2015. He has won 3 gold medals in Open International Inline Skating and he also holds the world record for non-stop limbo skating. Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh got in touch with this prodigy and here is how the conversation went.
What got you interested in limbo skating?
I went to a competition in Belgaum in Karnataka. I saw a boy doing limbo skating and I wanted to try it.
Tell us about your training schedule.
I wake up at 4 A.M in the morning. From 5 to 6, I do warm up and I practice on the roads from 6:30 to 9. Then I go to school and come back at 5 in the evening. After coming back, I do a little warm up and practice again from 6:30 to 8:30 and finally sleep at 10’o clock.
Any difficulties or problems you faced when you were learning limbo skating?
(Laughs) No problem Sir. My parents always supported me.
In limbo skating, you need to spread your legs wide apart, but you manage to do it effortlessly. What is the secret behind your flexibility?
I used to do gymnastics in 2014. It helped me a lot in limbo skating.
What goes through your mind when you skate beneath those SUV’s? Do you feel scared?
No Sir, I don’t feel scared.
How did you feel after breaking 4 Guinness world records?
I felt very happy. I broke four Guinness records, both backward and forward.
What was your most memorable moment?
August 31, 2017; when I broke the Guinness records
What are your future goals?
I want to win Olympic medal for our mother country and after doing that I want to become an IAS officer.
Despite possessing world class talent and a rock solid composure, the only thing which Devi lacks is sponsors and support from the general public. Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh organised the event in which he broke the Guinness world records and the government of Andhra Pradesh even sanctioned a financial assistance of 16.9 lakhs for Devi. His father G Lokanatham, a retired 65 year old technical officer in the Panchayat Raj department says, “We need moral support from the Government. We belong to middle class. Devi is preparing for his dream of winning the Olympic medal and he needs support.”
Irrespective of being young, Devi represents the dreams and ambitions of 132 crore Indians. He has to skate under cars, but he never gets scared. He might be young, but he sure has courage in his heart and big dreams in his mind.