Having created a flutter in the recent state schools swimming championship, the students of Government Vocational Higher Secondary School, Kalamassery, have set their sights high.
A team of 15 students represented the school to bag 15 gold, 8 silver and 4 bronze medals, contributing 153 points in Ernakulam district’s third place finish in the championship held at Thrissur. Adding a touch of glamour to their efforts were a few state schools records.
Though they have a long way to go before reaching national mainstream swimming standards, the young GVHSS swimmers are a confident lot.
“It is my dream to overcome my limitations and represent our country in the Olympic Games,” said a high-spirited A S Anand, a Class X student.
Anand and R S Vaishnav of Class IX secured the junior individual championship trophies while Rohit K J, Sreereesh R N, Jebin T Abraham and Ananda Krishnan figured among the medals prominently. They team was given a warm reception at the school the other day.
After proving that their good performance last year was no fluke, the team is gearing up for the national schools championship to be held in Pune from November 19.
Their coach S Unnikrishnan, of the Kerala State Sports Council, is full of expectations.
“This is no mean feat as the students achieved so much despite the lack of proper facilities, training or diet,” he said.
Principal Usha J Tharayil has offered full support to her wards.
“We are proud of their achievements and are looking forward to an equally successful performance at the national meet. Most of the students belong to economically backward families and we support them in all their ventures,” she said.
Meanwhile, physical education trainer Rani Abraham felt that they could improve their performances if better training and facilities are provided.
“The government is yet to give any incentive to these upcoming talents. Even without proper training and funds, the performance of the students is exemplary,” said Rani.
While many students are struggling to afford travelling expenses, most of them end up physically drained after an hour of practice due to poor diet. Thus they fail to fully utilise the available training facility, added the trainer.
However, the young swimmers are focused on working hard for the upcoming nationals.