PUDUKKOTTAI: If Bhiwani and Rohtak in Haryana are well known for churning out the finest boxers and wrestlers, meet the Kavinadu Youth Sports Club in Pudukkottai.
A brewing turf for promising athletes, their students in past 12 years have brought back medals from international, national, and State-level arenas without any state-of-the-art facilities. Right now, around 125 aspiring athletes have been practicing at the club. Since April 2006, when the club was inaugurated, Athletes belonging to this club have grabbed 250 gold, 400 silver and 250 bronze medals in various athletic meets.
One G Lakshmanan, who has also trained at the club, has become the first Indian to get a double gold at the Asian Athletic Championships held in Bhubaneswar last week. S Loganathan, trainer and founder of the club, said: “Lakshmanan hails from Sokkurani, a small village located on the outskirts of Pudukkottai. He lost his father very early and failed his SSLC examinations. After that, he came to me in 2006. He had no idea about his potential then.
“I sensed that he could be a good athlete, and have trained him till date. He achieved a lot in that period, also landed a job as havildar in the Indian Army four years ago. Even now, his family’s finances are still in a bad shape. He’s brought pride not only to our club, but also to our State and country with his perseverance,” he reminisced.
“Our students have been getting practice thanks to PVR Sekaran, president of our club, who bore all expenses. He gave around five acres of his own land near the banks of Kavinadu Kanmai in 2006 so that students could practice.
“But, in 2013, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) took most of the land to lay national highways between Tiruchy and Rameshwaram. Since we don’t have tracks for practice, our students are making do with tar roads.
“We don’t have money to buy more land to lay a new track. We’ve done much without facilities, produced achievers who have broken several records and gotten several medals. Lakshmanan and L Surya are examples. Even Shanthi Soundararajan has trained here,” lamented Loganathan.
Pudukkottai residents hailed the club and its athletes, and urged the State government to offer a proper venue for practice along with financial assistance.
Speaking about the club, Shanthi said: “Loganthan sir trained me a lot. He’s helped me get where I am today. Between 2001 to 2004, he helped me practice and taught many basics . That has helped me achieve a lot as both an athlete and coach. I hope Lakshmanan also gets a medal at the Asiad and Olympics in the future.”
Speaking to Express over the phone, Lakshmanan said, “Loganthan not only gave me training, but also fed me. Moreover, he identified my skills, nurtured them, and made me what I am today. He taught me what running is, how one should start, reach the target, and react while winning or losing.”