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The stadium, where the meet was being held, bustled with great activity. Children from several schools were moving around checking out the different venues where particular events were to be held. 51 Prakash Sir collected the schedule and gave the girls appropriate instructions. The Principal of the host school inaugurated the meet with a short speech and also introduced the participating schools. Then the events started. Rucha and most of the other children of their school easily got through the heats to enter the finals scheduled for the following day.

Were they tired already? That left just five of us in the reckoning. I ran as smoothly as I could, trying hard to remember Mrs. Reddy's instructions. I tried not to look to my right or left and concentrated on the track. It was hard to do so, though, with the sound of thudding feet all round me and the mud from the track occasionally flying up and getting in my eye. At the end of the first round, I was in the third position. I heard encouraging shouts all round me. My heart was pounding so hard that I thought it would fly out through my mouth.

She was thankful that the coach was helping her in every way. She kept perfecting her passes and her techniques with firm determination. Even the snide remarks from the teammates only made her more resolute. " or when Reema said, "Don't try to act nice on the court. It won't get you anywhere. You have to be a fighter to play this game, always on the offensive. " Little did the girls realize that these remarks really brought out the fighter in her. 62 One month later, the school organized the annual sports meet.

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