A record-breaker at just 13: Meet the Indian girl who is the youngest female ever to scale Everest
As far as records go, this one is special as can be.
When she scaled Mount Everest on Sunday, Malavath Poorna not only became the youngest-ever female to perform the feat, but – along with her team member Sadhanapalli Anand – also proved that no goal is unattainable for those with a strong will.
All of 13, Poorna reached the summit around 5.55am after a 52-day long expedition with her team.
Malavath Poorna, whose parents earn their livelihood as farm labour, became the youngest-ever female to scale Mount Everest
To immortalise their feat, she and 16-year-old Anand left a picture of B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of India’s constitution, on the world’s highest peak. Anand belongs to the Dalit community.
What makes their feat extra significant is that both come from rural and economically backward families, and are students of state-run educational institutions in what will soon be the state of Telangana.
Poorna, whose parents earn their livelihood as farm labour, is from Tadwai in Nizamabad district.
She is a Class IX student at the Gurukul Patashala, a residential school under the social welfare department.
Anand, whose father works as a mechanic, is in Class XI and studies at a social welfare institute in Khammam.
Poorna reached the summit around 5.55am after a 52-day long expedition with her team
The duo’s brush with Everest, scaling which is a dream many harbour, came with a rare opportunity.
Last year, the Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society chose the duo from among 150 children from economically weak families who were identified and shortlisted for advanced training in adventure sports.
The two were among 20 sent to Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling for the training programme.
Another selection saw the duo getting picked with seven others for an expedition to the Sino- Indian border.
“Poorna and Anand were picked for the Everest expedition in April, in view of their toughness and endurance,” said an official of the society.
‘Win for Telangana’
Talking about their feat, Telangana Chief Minister-designate K. Chandrasekhara Rao said: “This is a toast to Telangana a week before the creation of the new state and symbolises how the poor of the region struggle to achieve success.”
INDIA’S EVEREST SUMMITEERS
More than 4,000 climbers from around the world have scaled Mount Everest since the first ascent to its peak by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Tenzing Norgay in 1953
More than 4,000 climbers from around the world have scaled Mount Everest since the first ascent to its peak by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Tenzing Norgay (in photo above) in 1953.
A clear estimate on how many of them were Indians is unavailable, but their participation has increased with each year.
In 2013 alone, more than 100 Indians are estimated to have completed the 8,848-m trek. A few of the major such expeditions:
Raghav Joneja (left), aged 15 years and seven months at the time, set the record for the youngest Indian to climb the peak. Arunima Sinha (right) completed the trek last year
■ On May 21, 2013, a team of six Lawrence School (Sanawar) students scaled the peak as part of a school expedition. They trained over eight months for the 56-day trek. Team member Raghav Joneja, aged 15 years and seven months at the time, set the record for the youngest Indian to climb the peak. His record has now been broken by Poorna.
Jharkhand’s Premlata Agarwal became the oldest Indian woman to climb Everest
■ Last year, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the first Everest ascent, six Indians completed the trek. Former national-level volleyball player Arunima Sinha (25 at the time) was one of them (read Everest Firsts for more). Part of the same expedition, Lovraj Singh Dharamshaktu (then 43) became the only Indian to scale it more than five times.
■ Jharkhand’s Premlata Agarwal, a student of Bachendri Pal, became the oldest Indian woman to climb Everest when she completed the trek at the age of 48 in May 2011.
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