Pune:She has won a series of international competitions in powerlifting. Yet, before each major event, Tejaswini finds herself scraping together the money she needs to compete.
Before the recent Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships in Pune, Tejaswini contacted NDTV for help. A blog and a story on Tejaswini on ndtv.com saw offers of help pouring in from all over the world. And she thanked her generous supporters by winning the Gold.
"She is a star...very talented and hard-working. And totally dedicated to the game," says Peter Fiore, President, Commonwealth Powerlifting Federation.
Tejaswini has broken the national record 38 times, the Asian record 6 times; she ranks Number 1 in Asia, and number 4 in the world. But since powerlifting is not an Olympic sport, the government has never come to her rescue.
And that's why Tejaswini may miss the next Asian Championships in 2010.
"I will need Rs 5 lakh rupees for the entry fee, kit and preparations. But how will I get it?" she asks.
Tejaswini lost her father when she was just 11. Since then she's worked her way up, not just in life, but in a sport that she says completes her.
And though this national champion depends on the kindness of strangers, she says she is never ashamed of asking for help. The other option would be to surrender her sport - something she can't imagine.