At 20, Megha Sunny walks away with laurels in all Games, amid struggles
Kalady: While Kerala athletes grabbed the limelight after securing the title in Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG), Guwahati, a young woman from Ernakulam district slipped under the radar despite securing a historic gold in Judo.
It was Kerala’s first gold in Judo at KIYG. However, she didn’t stop there.
While most athletes were busy celebrating the victory with friends and family, this young woman was travelling to Kozhikode to take part in the Kerala State Senior Judo Championship. Her efforts paid dividends and she won another gold.
The sportswoman we are talking about is Megha Sunny, a native of Vattaparambu at Mattoor near Kalady in Ernakulam district and a final year B.A. History student of St. Mary’s College, Thrissur.
The 20-year-old has been taking judo lessons from the tender age of six. Now she is competing in the heavy weight (above 78 kilogram) category. She was inducted into the Day Boarding Scheme of Kerala State Sports Council and is training at the Thrissur District Judo Association under the tutelage of national level coach Sarath Chandran.
In 2016, Megha had secured bronze in the Under-18 girls category. In 2018, Megha secured bronze medal at the National Judo Championships in the Under-21 women’s category. She is the Gold medal holder in the Calicut University Judo Championship and Kerala State Junior Judo Championship in 2019-20.
Megha has been bagging medals consistently at national and state events in the last few years. To secure the numerous laurels, Megha not only overcame opponents from different parts of the country and state, but also overcome personal challenges.
Megha was born in a lower middle class family. Her father Sunny, who was a jewellery maker, has been running a grocery shop for the last 10 years. The shop is the sole source of income for the family of five, including Megha’s mother Mercy, elder sister Sneha and younger sister Sara.
Mercy was diagnosed with cancer one year ago and the family moved to a rented house near their shop. Mercy’s treatment has put huge financial strain on the family.
The family spent over Rs 1.6 lakh for Mercy’s treatment so far. Mercy is undergoing chemotherapy at Ernakulam District Government Hospital under the Karunya Insurance scheme of the state government. Along with chemotherapy, Mercy has to undergo antibody treatment as well. However, several medicines for antibody treatment have been removed from Karunya scheme and hence Megha’s family has to pay for the treatment from their pocket.
Mercy has to undergo the treatment every 14 days and she spends at least two days at the hospital. Each visit costs the family Rs 30,000 for medicines alone. Benefits from the Karunya scheme is the only financial aid available to the family.
The only piece of land owned by the family is a one-and-a-half cent in which their grocery shop is located.
There is a room attached to the rear side of the shop where Mercy stays in the day. She needs constant monitoring and assistance for even the very basic human needs. Mercy and Sunny return home after closing the shop. During chemotherapy, Mercy’s daughters, particularly her youngest child Sara, will attend to her while Sunny takes care of the shop.
Megha’s elder sister Sneha is doing house surgency at an Ayurveda hospital in Kannur. Sara is a Plus One Student. The family had availed an educational loan in an effort to turn Sneha into a doctor. Educational expenses of the three girls are also adding to the financial strain on the family.
But such hurdles, be it personal or sports related, have never pulled Megha back. Instead, they have propelled her forward to the top.
Every time she takes to the mat to compete, Megha prays to Holy Mary, to help her find the strength and resolve to persevere and overcome obstacles and opponents.
Megha’s aim is to secure a job that will help her earn a solid income to support her family while pursuing greater glory in Judo. Megha also wants to build a house so that once her mother recovers, the family can stay together.
But at the moment, Megha’s eyes are set on securing top honors at the Khelo India University Games and Senior National Judo Championship.