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Behind every success is effort…
Behind every effort is passion…
Behind every passion is someone with the courage to try, and
Behind that person there’s someone who motivates to dream high!

Recently I happened to read the synopsis of the book “Unstoppable” by ace tennis player Maria Sharapova. The book dwells on the story of her rise from nowhere to stardom, her unrelenting fight to stay on top and, more importantly, the story of a father who taught his daughter to dream high and sacrificed every bit of his self to make that dream come true.

Today Maria is a queen of the tennis courts and an athlete with multi-million brand value, but her story didn’t begin in the glory of the tennis court. It began years ago in a small Russian town, where she played on rough courts with precautious concentration. It all began when her father Yuri Sharapov, convinced his daughter had a passion and aptitude, risked everything to get her to the Tennis Academy at Florida in USA, with only seven hundred dollars and few words of English that weren’t enough to make life easy. The fee to join the academy itself was $1,000. The ‘Unstoppable’ is a story of how Yuri begged around to get his daughter admittance to different tennis academies and how he had to sweat it out on the flower gardens and construction sites of rich Floridians to find the needed resources to bloom his daughter’s talent.

Maria was just four-years-old when Yuri noticed she had a knack for the game. Though in Russia tennis was a rich people’s game, Yuri was determined to do everything possible for his little girl. Though she was underage, Maria was given the chance to participate at ‘Junior National Clinic’, at which legendary Martina Navratilova was the chief guest. It was she who suggested Yuri that his little girl was good in the game and that she should be sent to Florida to be trained. Maria’s mother didn’t believe in tennis, but she believed in her husband, and he believed in his daughter.

Maria recounts the determination and hard work her father underwent to convert the simple village girl into one of the greatest athletes in the world. She had to face neglect, pity and partiality, but her father’s hard work, iron will and motivation kept her going. She narrates the story of how her father was kicked out of his job unfairly and also an occasion when he fell at the work site due to acute back ache and was left unattended for hours. He was bedridden for two weeks. There was no money to pay at the academy and the house rent. They were kicked out from both the places. Maria recollects a number of similar instances of ordeals her father and she had to live through as the price for pursuing a dream. There were also good people, who saw her talent and helped her, but the unforgettable saga of dedication and fortune of Maria Sharapova was rooted in Yuri, her coach, manager, father and most dedicated fan. The rest is history as we know it…

Reading through the synopsis I was reminded of my own parents, especially my father, whom I’d like to credit with all the success I’ve achieved in my life. The fruit of his hard work was the fund with which I laid the foundation of V-Guard. His belief in me and moral support kept me going. I’m sure many of you who read this article can correlate the intervention of persons in your life whose sacrifices and motivation became the fodder for your growth – be it your own parents, a teacher, or a well-wisher.
Better late than never, it’s rightful to pay tribute to each of them!

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