Nishant Totla, the Aurangabad boy who has bagged second spot in the all-India list of successful candidates of the Joint Entrance Examination for the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology, is among five brilliant students of India selected for the International Physics Olympiad in Hanoi on July 19.
Second only to Shitikanth of Patna, Nishant is among the 8,652 successful candidates out of the 311,258 who appeared for the tough exam to enter the elite science and engineering institutes.
The polite son of paediatric surgeon Rajgopal and ophthalmologist Santosh was expecting to be among the first 10 successful candidates.
Nishant wants to do research in physics after graduating in computer science either from IIT Powai (Mumbai)
"I am very happy about the success and overwhelmed by the encomiums showered upon me from countless known and unknown people," Nishant, who studied at Devgiri College and Cambridge School in Aurangabad before that, told IANS on phone.
Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was among the first who phoned to greet Nishant on his success.
Another successful candidate is Ashwini Meshram, a Scheduled Caste girl from the backward Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra's Vidarbha region. Ashwini came 114th in the coveted list, where only 2.8 percent candidates could find a place. She is the first girl in the tribal district to pass the IIT entrance test.
As many as 28 students of Nagpur's IIT-Home are among the first 1,000 candidates in India. They include Ashish Rathi (rank 520), Ankita Agrawal (521), Rahul Srivastav (639) and Neha Jatav (577).
Pritih Kamath of Mumbai, securing 21st rank in the all India list, was a topper from Mumbai zone, from where 2,551 candidates were successful out of the 61,396 who sat for the exam.
Samir Eknath Mandge from Jalgaon has ranked 605 in the all India list and 62nd from among the other backward classes (OBC).
Nishant's father Rajagopal told IANS: "Nishu has a clear mind about pursuing research in physics - he would rather be a basic science researcher than the CEO of some multinational company."
The paediatrician was all praise too for his wife Santosh who stopped her practice for two years altogether so that she could make frequent trips to Kota, Rajasthan, where their son was preparing for his entrance exam.
While Nishant plays the guitar and keyboard besides reading science fiction, his "key passion" as he puts it, is football - both playing and watching. "I regularly follow the English Premier League," Nishant says, admitting that he had to keep aside all his extra-curricular interests while preparing for the entrance test. IANS