Bhadohi boy Rinku is English-speaking baseball star of American league

SPORTS

"I feel really great when sports lovers in United States refer to me as baseball star from India," says 22-year-old Rinku Singh, a former national level javelin thrower from Guru Gobind Singh Sports College, Lucknow who now plays the popular game for American league.

Back from Florida on a holiday, Rinku along with Dinesh Patel was the first from India to sign American major league baseball contracts. Playing for Pittsburgh Pirates club, both had a successful 2009 baseball season.

Till yesterday, Rinku who was just another boy from Holpur village of Bhadohi, is today the most popular among his friends and coaches at the college due to his achievements in baseball. He was honoured for the same during the college annual day on Friday.

He speaks English with good confidence and is happy of the fact that his efforts have changed his family's fortune in a big way. His 55-year-old father Brahmadin Singh no longer has to drive a truck to earn a living for the family. "Now my father only supervises the farming of the 4 or 5 bighas of land we have at Holpur. A new "American style" seven room house is being constructed some 60 metres away from our home from the money which I have earned. I also help in the training my elder brother Rajan Singh who is an international level athlete."

Life was not at all a bed of roses until destiny took him for participation in a reality show— "Million Dollar Arm" contest in 2008 to find the individual in India who could throw the baseball fastest and most accurate. He won the contest out of over 37,000 participants with a throw of 87 miles per hour. The prize for the contest was $100,000. After training abroad in the sport, eventually both Rinku and runners-up Dinesh were signed by Pittsburgh Pirates.

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