Harika Dronavalli is one of the most accomplished sportswomen in India and chances are you might not even have heard her name.
The 26-year-old from Andhra Pradesh, who has just returned home from having won the Bronze at the Women’s World Chess Championship in Tehran, has been a chess Grandmaster since 2011. She has also won Bronze at the Women’s World Chess Championship twice before this, once in 2012 and again in 2015.
While her recent win went largely unnoticed, people have started taking to social media to commend her for bringing the laurel to India.
— Harika Dronavalli (@HarikaDronavali) February 28, 2017
Here are five things you may want to know about the impressive Harika that will leave you beaming with pride.
At 17, she had already achieved glory on a global stage
As a top seed from the Indian delegation, a then 17-year-old Harika won the World Junior Girls Chess championship in 2008.
Her parents initially tried to get her sister interested in chess
In a 2008 interview with Sify, Harika notes that it was her parents initially introduced chess to her sister. But it was Harika who became interested and took up the sport more seriously. In the same interview she notes that the first time she participated in the National Championship she came 15th but had mentally decided to win the event the very next year. True to her word, she did.
She has walked away with a number of international titles and awards
While still a teenager, she was awarded the prestigious Arjuna Award by the government of India for her achievements. In 2010, she won the Commonwealth women’s title. In 2011, she was the winner at the Asian Championship and in 2015, she won the World Online Blitz Championship.
She didn’t go on a single vacation till she was 24!
Given that she has been on the national chess team since she was 13, Harika has had a hectic schedule between her studies and her dedication to chess. In an interview to the Times of India back in 2015, she noted that it was in that year that she finally took a vacation and spent a week in Singapore and Malaysia along with her sister!