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    Ramachandraiah is probably the last such singer left in A.P. and Telangana

    Sakine Ramachandraiah could easily have been awarded honorary doctorate by any university. An unlettered man from Koonavaram village of Manuguru mandal of Bhadradri Kothagudem district, Ramachandraiah has oral histories of the Koya tribe on the tip of his tongue.

    One only has to mention the story to have it cascade effortlessly from his vocal chambers, in Telugu as well as Koya language.

    Belonging to the ‘Doli’ sub-division of the Koya tribe, which has been traditionally ordained with the duty of reciting the tribe’s clan histories, Ramachandraiah is probably the last such singer left in the two states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

    “Some times, I cross the State border to perform in Chhattisgarh, where people want the songs in Koya language,” Ramachandraiah says.

    He sings at marriages, at funerals, and he always sings at the biennial Medaram Jathara also known as the ‘Sammakka Saralamma Jathara’, which is touted as the world’s largest repeat congregation of tribal communities. The Medaram Jathara is to be held from January 31 to February 3 this year, at Eturunagaram of Jayashankar Bhupalpally district.


    The Doli community is described as ‘professional beggars’ among Koyas by the Godavari District Gazette of 1896. Though their duties are priest-like and along with ‘Oddis’— the superior priest class — they can be classified as the ‘literate’ in the tribe, their status is still considered ‘inferior’.

    Doli men sing oral histories based on the ‘Padige’s or pictorial scrolls inherited by various communities over centuries.

    “Earlier, Doli families used to live in a hamlet called ‘Soppala’.

    Now, nobody lives there. Few are left who can recite oral histories as accurately as Ramachandraiah,” says Jayadhir Tirumala Rao, academic and researcher of tribal communities.

    Prof. Tirumala Rao is spearheading a project to document the oral history of ‘Sammakka-Saralamma’ as told by Ramachandraiah, and he vouches that the story, if fleshed out from the myth it is enmeshed in, could substantially aid historical research.

    “Sammakka-Saralamma story is about the war waged against the Kakatiya dynasty by tribal women who challenged king Prataparudra when he had levied tax on them for the tanks he had got constructed in their forests. The Koya tribe had then lived on hunting-gathering, and never cultivated any land.

    So, the king sought to send outsiders into the forest for cultivation, which was the last straw on the camel’s back. This story comes out very clearly from the song recited by Ramachandraiah,” Prof. Tirumala Rao says.

    Apart from ‘Sammakka-Saralamma’, the balladeer sings the stories of tribal warriors such as Gari Kamaraju, Pagididda Raju, Irama Raju, Gaadi Raju, Bapanamma, Musalamma, Nagulamma, Sadalamma and others. He also knows and recites the stories behind the endogamous tribal sub-divisions and their surnames. “Now, nobody wants to sing the stories. Even my own son refuses to follow the tradition,” Ramachandraiah laments.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by Swathi Vadlamudi / January 10th, 2018

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    Once upon a time there was a huge steam ship filled with passengers leaving a quaint town. But, the ill-fated ship sank with all of its 400 passengers on board. Ever since, the location where the ship sank in the sea has been haunted, with the souls of the gloomy, dead passengers haunting whoever passes by at night. They moan and take out their anger on the living, begging for attention and some relief from their after-life.

    Thus goes the legend of a mysterious wreck in the Bay of Bengal popular among the fishing community of  Visakhapatnam.  And till recently, the wreck was nothing more than an apparition; a bed-time tale told to scare toddlers. Or so it was believed. But Vizag-based scuba diver, Balaram Naidu claims he’s discovered the remnants of that doomed ship lying in the Bay of Bengal.

    “I don’t want to reveal where the wreck is yet, but the fishing community here has always had many interesting tales to tell about it,” says Balaram Naidu, owner of an adventure sports firm in the city.

    From the pictures of the remnants of the said wreck that Balaram shared with Vizag Times, one can see various parts of the ship scattered around. “The shaft, motor, furnace and the rest of the main body are intact. The keel, decks and other parts of the ship have spread all over the place. The furnace even holds beautiful aqua life in it and is filled with fishes, eels and turtles,” explains Balaram.

    But how did the adventure enthusiast even find the wreck in the first place? “We have been struggling to find wrecks in the sea for three years now and been taking the help of the fishing community to find them. But they can’t dive deep into the water, so they point out possible wreck sites to us and we dive to see if they’re actually there. We learnt about this site from the fishermen’s tales. We found the debris during our first few dives and it took us a while to find the wreck too,” he says, elated.

    While the mention of the eerie wreck brings out excitement in Balaram, it incites fear in the fishing community. The fishermen are dead sure that this is the sunken ship that their forefathers warned them about. “I don’t know how old the ship is and when it sunk there. But generations of our children have grown up listening to tales of how 400 passengers on board died when this ship sank. I heard the story from my father, who heard the story from my grandfather and so on. My father is 85-years-old now, I think the ship sunk 300 years ago maybe. But this is the first time I’ve heard of someone actually finding it,” says Satti, a fisherman.

    But why does the ship-wreck incite fear in these fishermen? “It’s not just me, anyone who has fished around that area will tell you that they feel scared to venture there. Because a lot of us who fished in that area at night, have felt someone hitting us on our backs. That’s why we avoid venturing there at night. Even when we do go that side, we go in large numbers and prefer not to catch fish there.”

    Balaram however wants to find the ship’s origins and believes it sunk while it was leaving Vizag harbour. “The shaft is towards Vizag, this could mean that it sunk while it was leaving the harbour. I want to find out more details about the ship and I’m hoping its records can be found at the court. They will hopefully have the navigation records.”

    For Balaram the finding of a coral in the sea few weeks back and now, the wreck just reinstates the fact that Vizag has the potential to be an attractive dive site. “In fact, it could be the best dive site in India,” he says. “Scuba divers love reef diving and wreck diving, and the latter is something a lot of divers opt for because it’s exciting.”

    Previously too, Balaram Naidu had told Vizag Times that he is planning to present a proposal to the tourism department to develop Vizag as a wreck diving destination. If the proposal does indeed materialise, then civilians would be able to access the wreck of PNS Ghazi, that only divers of Indian Navy are privy to so far.

    “I know for a fact that the remains of Ghazi lie 30 meters deep in the ocean and that the debris is entangled in fishing nets,” he says. Apart from the wreck of PNS Ghazi, and now this steam ship, the debris of a goods ship lies at the continental beach near Dolphin Hill.

    “I will soon submit a proposal imploring the Tourism Department to turn the ship wreck we discovered now and PNS Ghazi into wreck diving sites. It can transform the tourism scenario not just in Vizag but all of India,” he sums it up.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Visakhapatnam News / by Neeshita Nyayapati / TNN / January 06th, 2018

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    Rahath Malladi will sing in 100 languages

    Young Rahath Malladi, an upcoming singer, will make an attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records by staging a musical concert in which he will be singing songs in 100 languages at Sri Rama Function Palace at Gandhinagar on January 6.

    He will be aiming to enter the book under ‘most languages sung in a concert’. He will be singing from 11 am. to 9 pm.

    The 14-year-old singer is recipient of awards such as Bala Ratna, Smart Champ, State‘s Best Child, Uthama Bala Ratna and Golden Child, for his achievements in singing, acting and oration. He was the anchor for Bol Baby Bol and has acted in a children’s film.

    Deputy Speaker Mandali Budda Prasad, Minister for Tourism Bhuma Akhila Priya will be the chief guests.

    Kuchibhotla Anand, Chairman, Kuchipudi Natyaramam, D. Vizia Bhaskar, Director, Department of Language and Culture, Golla Narayana Rao, secretary, Andhra Arts Academy, E. Siva Nagi Reddy, Chief Executive Officer, Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati, are some of the distinguished guests.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States>Andhra Pradesh / by Special Correspondent / Vijayawada – January 03rd, 2018

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    December 10th, 2017adminAmazing Feats, Records, All, World Opinion
    A file photo of INS Sindhukirti, seventh Sindhughosh-class submarine of Indian Navy, being towed in the channel for undertaking sea trials in Visakhapatnam. | Photo Credit: arranged

    A file photo of INS Sindhukirti, seventh Sindhughosh-class submarine of Indian Navy, being towed in the channel for undertaking sea trials in Visakhapatnam. | Photo Credit: arranged

    On December 8, 1967, when Commander K.S. Subramanian read out the commissioning warrant in freezing -15 degree Celsius at Vladivostok, submarine base in Russia then USSR, little did he know that he was heralding a force that would one day be a nuclear force and will complete the nuclear triad for the country. Cdr Subramanian commanded the first submarine of the Indian Navy INS Kalvari.

    The submarine arm or the silent arm of the Indian Navy is celebrating its golden jubilee this year, and in the last five decades it has grown from a couple of Foxtrot class submarines to possess the Arihant class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) to the state-of-the-art Scorpene-class submarines.

    The proposal to form a submarine arm was first envisaged in 1959 and a draft plan to acquire four submarines from UK at a cost of ₹16 crore with a recurring annual cost of ₹ 2 crore was moved. But it did not materialise, and it was again moved in 1962 and the government approved the proposal. A nine- member team led by Captain B.K. Dang was sent to UK to undergo training at HMS Dolphin. But the purchase proposal did not again materialise, as India wanted to buy the Porpoise or Oberon class and the British government offered the old ‘T’ class.

    It was only in 1964 that the Soviet government agreed for transfer by purchase for four ‘F’ class or Foxtrot-class submarines.

    About 16 officers and over 100 sailors received training at Vladivostok and a beginning was made when Cdr. K.S. Subramanian sailed into the Visakhapatnam harbour, braving 16,000 km of rough sea from Riga to Visakhapatnam, on June 6, 1968.

    The submarine arm of the Indian Navy came into operation at Visakhapatnam with the then Chief of Naval Staff Admiral A.K. Chatterjee laying the foundation stone for the submarine base.

    The silent arm grew with the induction of four more Foxtrot-class submarines such as INS Khanderi, Karanj and Kursura. All the four constituted the 8th Submarine Squadron and have played a key role during the 1970-71 Indo-Pak war. Today, all have been decommissioned and INS Kursura is transformed into a submarine museum and stands on Visakhapatnam beach.

    The first full-fledged submarine base had come into existence in the shape of INS Virbahu on May 19, 1971 at Visakhapatnam.

    The force grew with the acquisition of four more Foxtrot-class submarines from the then Soviet Union. INS Vela, Vagir, Vagli and Vaghsheer formed the formidable 9th Squadron with the base at Bombay now Mumbai.

    From the Foxtrot class, the navy graduated to procure and produce the German-based HDW 1500 class or also called as the SSKs attack submarines, in mid 1980s. Referred to as the Shishumar class, four of them Shishumar, Shankush, Shalki and Shankul formed the 10th Squadron of the arm, based in Mumbai.

    Keeping the tempo up, India negotiated with Russia to procure the Kilo-class or the Sindhughosh-class attack submarines. Equipped with the 3M-54 Klub (SS-N-27) anti-ship cruise missiles with a range of 220 km, for the first time India was on the offensive side of submarine warfare.

    While Sindhughosh, Sindhudhvaj, Sindhuraj, Sindhuvir , Sindhuratna and Sindhurakshak (exploded and sank in Mumbai harbour on14 August 2013) were based in Mumbai to form the 12th Squadron. Sindhukesari, Sindhukriti, Sindhuvijay and Sindhurashtra were based in Visakhapatnam to form the 11th Squadron.

    Nuclear era

    The submarine arm entering the nuclear era began with the leasing of INS Chakra an Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) from Russia in 1988 and it was based in Visakhapatnam.

    Sources in the navy said Chakra was taken on lease to train officers and men with the futuristic idea to build its own nuclear fleet. After the lease of INS Chakra expired, a second Akula Class nuclear submarine INS Chakra II was taken on lease from Russia in 2012.

    India built its first nuclear submarine INS Arihant under the Advanced Technology Vessel project at the Ship Building Centre in Visakhapatnam.

    INS Arihant the first of the expected five in the Arihant-class is indigenously built with Akula-class technology.

    Completing a full 50 years cycle, the Scorpène-class submarine is now being built for the Indian Navy at Mazagon Dock in Mumbai with French design, and they are named after the Kalvari class. The subs will be named after the first batch that served the navy such as Kalvari, Khanderi and Karanj.

    President to present colours

    As part of the celebrations, President Ram Nath Kovind will be awarding Presidential Colours to the Submarine Arm of the Indian Navy at a Colour Presentation ceremony to be held in Visakhapatnam on December 8.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Visakhapatnam / by Sumit Bhattacharjee / Visakhapatnam – December 07th, 2017

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    Kidambi Srikanth | Photo Credit: NOAH SEELAM

    Kidambi Srikanth | Photo Credit: NOAH SEELAM

    The Assembly on Saturday passed a resolution approving the appointment of Guntur-born Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth as Deputy Collector.

    The Council of Ministers resolved, vide resolution CR No. 429-2/2017, dated November 2017, to provide employment to him in a post in Group 1 services (Deputy Collector) of the State in appreciation of his outstanding performance in badminton.

    Four titles

    Srikanth won four super series titles – Indonesian Open, Australian Open, Denmark Open, and French Open – in one year, and he was the only Indian and fourth player in the world to achieve the feat.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Andhra Pradesh / by Special Correspondent / Vijayawada – December 02nd, 2017

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    November 13th, 2017adminAmazing Feats, Records, All, Sports, World Opinion

    She created two records on Sunday to enter the Asia Book of Records and the India Book of Records, and it’s not her first time!

    When Dolly Shivani Cherukuri from Vijayawada was nearing two, she became the youngest Indian archer to score more than 200 points at a trial event.

    And boy was she young!

    Three years later, Dolly has done it again. On Sunday, the now 5-year-old created two records to enter the Asia Book of Records and the India Book of Records.

    According to Deccan Chronicle , Dolly created the first record by shooting 103 arrows to a distance of 10m in just 11 minutes, 19 seconds.

    She used the Indian arrow and a compound bow – one that uses a levering system to bend the limbs.

    Dolly Shivani Cherukuri. Source: Facebook

    Dolly Shivani Cherukuri. Source: Facebook

    She created the second record by shooting 36 arrows from a distance of 20m in 5 minutes, 8 seconds. Out of 360 points, she scored 290.

    “The performance of Shivani was outstanding, and an archer in their teens cannot do the feat done by Shivani. It was a big challenge for her in this age, and we appreciate the efforts of Volga Archery Academy for their training,” B. Shravan Kumar, an official from Archery Association of India, told Deccan Chronicle.

    Dolly comes from a family of archers. Her father runs an archery academy, and her older brother, who unfortunately passed away six years ago, was an international archer as well as coach.

    The records certificates were handed over to Dolly’s father, Cherukuri Satyanarayana, by the officials of Asia Books of Records.

    source: / The Better India / Home> Andhra Pradesh> Quick Bytes / by Deepika Bharadwaj / September 2017

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    October 30th, 2017adminAmazing Feats, Records, All, Sports, World Opinion
    Dominant: K. Srikanth, who is on a winning spree, exults after taking the French Open with ease on Sunday.

    Dominant: K. Srikanth, who is on a winning spree, exults after taking the French Open with ease on Sunday.

    Having already completed a hat-trick of Super Series titles, Srikanth won his fourth title of the season.

    India’s Kidambi Srikanth’s dream season continued as he brushed aside the challenge of Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto in straight games to win the French Open Super Series men’s singles title, in Paris on Sunday.

    Having already completed a hat-trick of Super Series titles, Srikanth won his fourth title of the season.

    Srikanth, seeded eight in the tournament, took just 34 minutes to get the better of his Japanese opponent 21-14 21-13 in the summit clash.

    The win ensured Srikanth, who played his fifth Super Series final this season, bag his second consecutive title in two weeks after winning the Denmark Open in Odense last week.

    Srikanth, thus, became only fourth men’s singles player to win four or more Super Series titles in a calendar year.

    Going by Srikanth’s current form, it was expected to be a one-sided summit clash and it turned out to be one, except for the first few points of the opening game which was a neck-and-neck fight between the two shuttlers.

    It was Nishimoto, who started brightly to race to a 9-5 lead before Srikanth fought back to draw level at 9-9.

    From there on it was no looking back as the Indian used his court coverage and superior technique to take a 14-10 lead.

    Nishimoto did manage to take some points to reduce the margin to 15-14 before Srikanth used his experience at the highest level to pocket six straight points and win the first game.

    Srikanth continued his good form in the second game and won five straight points to take a commanding 10-2 lead.

    Nishimoto tried his best to force a comeback and managed to reduce the margin to 13-8 but the Indian showed his class and superiority in crunch situations to keep his lead intact and win the game 21-13 and claim his second consecutive title in as many weeks.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Sport> Other Sports / PTI / Paris – October 29th, 2017

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    In safe hands: Doctors from Healing Little Hearts, UK with a baby on whom they performed heart surgery at Andhra Hospital in Vijayawada on Friday. | Photo Credit: CH_VIJAYA BHASKAR

    In safe hands: Doctors from Healing Little Hearts, UK with a baby on whom they performed heart surgery at Andhra Hospital in Vijayawada on Friday. | Photo Credit: CH_VIJAYA BHASKAR

    Camp held at Heart & Brain Institute, Andhra Hospitals

    Heart & Brain Institute, Andhra Hospitals, organised a paediatric cardiology and cardiac surgical camp in association with Healing Little Hearts, UK, from October 23 to 27. A team of doctors from reputed hospitals in UK performed 15 heart surgeries free.

    The team included paediatric interventional cardiologist, p aediatric cardiac surgeons, paediatric cardiac intensivists, paediatric cardiac anaesthetist, perfusionist, paediatric intensive care nurses and the team led by Dr. Vikram Kudumula, Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist from UK.

    The team performed heart surgeries which included atrial septal defect with complications, ventricular septal defect, patent ductus arteriosus with complications, total anomalous pulmonary venous drainage, Fallot’s tetralogy, etc.

    Andhra Hospitals Managing Director Dr. P. V. Ramana Murthy said they had been doing children heart surgeries regularly for the past two years. Healing little hearts, UK, team had come nine times so far, he said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> City> Vijayawada / by Staff Reporter / Vijayawada – October 28th, 2017

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    It is a first of its kind in the world, says CMFRI scientist

    Redefining mariculture: Seed of Indian pompano at the CMFRI nursery in Visakhapatnam. | Photo Credit: arranged

    Redefining mariculture: Seed of Indian pompano at the CMFRI nursery in Visakhapatnam. | Photo Credit: arranged

    The regional centre of ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute here has made a major breakthrough by undertaking mass scale seed production of Indian pompano for the first time in the world.

    Indian pompano (trachinotus mookalee) is a marine fish belonging to the family Carangidae. It is low in landing from the wild. It contains Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. It is sold in the domestic market at ₹200 to ₹300 per kg.

    The species is distributed in the Indo-West Pacific region and present in 15 countries of the Asian continent. In India, it is reported from both the west and east coasts.

    It has sporadic occurrences in bays and lagoons, and the adult fish prefers shallow coastal waters with rocky areas.

    Senior scientist in charge of the regional centre Subhadeep Ghosh told The Hindu that the fish was considered to be a good candidate species for aquaculture due to its fast growth rate, easy adaptability to culture conditions, quick acceptance of artificial feed, pleasant appearance, good meat quality, and high consumer preference. In addition, it can be successfully cultured in tanks, ponds and cages.

    Broodstock collection

    In a bid to diversify Indian mariculture, breeding and seed production of the species was initiated at the regional centre with broodstock collection in 2011.

    Initial success in seed production on a small scale was achieved in early 2014. However, seed could not be produced consistently due to loss of broodstock maintained in the cage by the effect of the catastrophic Hudhud cyclone that hit the Visakhapatnam coast that year.

    Broodstock collection was initiated again in 2015 and the fishes were stocked in the land-based Re-circulating Aquaculture System (RAS) for development and maturation.

    “With manipulation of water quality and feeding protocols, fishes were induced to spawn in the RAS and mass scale seed production was achieved in early 2017,” Dr. Ghosh said.

    Metamorphosis from larvae to fry started on the 17th day post-hatch and was completed by the 22nd day. After 30 days of rearing, the survival rate was around 17.2% and the fry reached an average size of 2.9 cm in length and 1.27 gm in weight. A few thousand fry were transferred to the Veraval Regional Centre of CMFRI in Gujarat and are being nursery-reared for stocking in cages.

    Another few thousand fry were transferred to Nagayalanka in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh and are being nursed prior to release in the pond. The remaining fry, again a few thousands, are being nursery-reared at the Visakhapatnam Regional Centre of CMFRI.

    He said the seed would be stocked in open sea floating cages for grow-out very soon.

    This was the first case of successful mass scale seed production of Indian pompano under confinement anywhere in the world.

    The success raised hopes for culture of the fish using hatchery produced seed in India and will present enormous scope for aquaculture business opportunity in the near future for Indian fish farmers through species diversification.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Visakhapatnam / by Santosh Patnaik / Visakhapatnam – July 04th, 2017

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    Mind over matter Wheelchair basketball players at the ‘2017 Women’s Development’ camp in Thailand.

    Mind over matter Wheelchair basketball players at the ‘2017 Women’s Development’ camp in Thailand.

    They set sights on gold medals at international events

    Binding to a wheelchair does not dampen their spirits to aim high. They feel even sky is not the limit for them. It is the inspiring tale of two women from Andhra Pradesh — 30-year-old B. Hima Kalyani and 29-year-old Pandranki Satyavathi — afflicted with polio at the age of five.

    After attending the ‘2017 Women’s Development’ camp organised by the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) – Asia Oceania Zone in Thailand, they not only attained great skills in wheelchair basketball but also wanted to train women suffering from a similar impairment.

    Their association with the basketball made them realise that the sport would help instil great self-confidence and zest for life in such women.

    Presently employed with Thomson Reuters’, Bengaluru, as a content analyst in finance and risk wing, Nidadavolu-based Hima Kalyani says she was unaware of the game until she attended a wheelchair basketball camp in Hyderabad last June.

    “When we came to know about the camp through Global-AID, an NGO working for development of persons with disabilities, we wanted to give it a shot. The camp introduced us to a new world, making us realise that life is more beautiful than what we assumed it to be,” narrates Ms. Satyavathi, who is working in the Global AID, Gajapathinagaram mandal, Vizianagaram district, as teacher and hostel warden.

    Five months later, the duo participated in the third National Wheelchair Basketball Championship, Chennai.

    “The maiden event, organised jointly by the Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India (WBFI) and the International Committee of the Red Cross, made me win a bronze medal,” states Ms. Hima Kalyani.

    ‘Not an easy task’

    Ms. Satyavathi was able to reach up to the semi-final round in the tournament and she along with Hima Kalyani and a few other players got selected for further intensive coaching organised by the IWBF in Thailand.

    “We forgot our physical impediment for a while and competed with international players with ease.

    “Playing basketball on wheels is not an easy task but the vigorous coaching exposed us to different techniques of the sport, manoeuvring special wheelchairs,” they say.

    The players’ next target is to grab gold medals in international events.

    “In addition to this, we also want to train wheelchair-bound women in the sport,” the players say.

    According to founder-president of Global AID Sai Padma, the NGO plans to provide specialised coaching to the physically challenged persons in wheelchair basketball through the Andhra Pradesh Wheelchair Basketball Association.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Andhra Pradesh / by Rani Devalla / Visakhapatnam – May 03rd, 2017

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