On a roll

Junior shares experiences as a paralympic athlete


Ritvika Kondakrindi will compete at the two-day track and field state competition at Mike A. Myers Stadium on May 12 in the 100 meter race, 400 meter race and shot put throw. (Photo provided by Kondakrindi)

Junior Ritvika Kondakrindi has found success competing as a paralympic athlete. After being diagnosed with a rare spinal condition called spina bifida, Kondakrindi grew up dedicated to being active and pushing the boundaries of her athletic ability. 

“I wanted the same opportunity as everyone else in [participating] in a normal high school sport,” Kondakrindi said. “All my other wheelchair friends were doing it and I was like, ‘hey, I could make this possible at my school.’” 

Kondakrindi joined track after Katie Broadbent, another athlete who attended Hebron last year, convinced her to attend. She is now a part of a team of wheelchair racers who practice every Saturday and compete at meets. 

“I like how individual track is,” Kondakrindi said. “I can work on my own personal growth and I can very clearly see how far I’ve come and what I need to work on. Everytime I race, everything else blocks out.” 

Kondakrindi is surrounded by support from her parents, her team and her coaches, who are all people she claims are a huge part of her high school experience. Many of her teammates have become her close friends. 

“The track team has been so supportive and the coaches are willing to learn how to train me so I can improve,” Kondakrindi said. “One of my favorite things is being with them every day and getting better [in my sport].” 

Along with track, Kondakrindi loves painting, playing basketball and working hard at her academics. Her body is not the only thing she wishes to keep active and healthy, as she said she has goals to be a pediatrician in the future due to her love for anatomy, physiology and science.


Kondakrindi poses with her teammates at the state-qualifying regional championships in 2022. She would go on to win fifth at the state championships.

“I prioritize my academics because, if I don’t, I won’t be able to do any of the things that I love, like sports,” Kondakrindi said. “I try to keep my studies my No. 1 because that’s going to get me far.” 

Despite her success, Kondakrindi’s spina bifida —caused by an early-on tumor on her spine — still affects her to this day. She developed scoliosis, and metal rods have been placed in her spine that she has to occasionally receive treatment for whenever breakage occurs. Still, she keeps moving forward. 

“It’s been hard, but I know that I’m going to get better with help medically and I’m going to be [healthier] in the end,” Kondakrindi said. “[Because of track], I feel like I’ve developed discipline and confidence for myself.”