VELLORE: A 22-year-old of Sathuvachari has made Vellore proud as he is the only sportsman from the State in the eight-member team of weightlifters representing the country in the Commonwealth Games scheduled to take place in Scotland between July 23 and August 3. Sathishkumar will be participating in the 77-kg category.
He was selected during the trial that was held in Patiala in Punjab in the beginning of this month. Sathishkumar is now undergoing special coaching in England for a month, through the Sports Authority of India before he takes part in the Commonwealth Games in Scotland. He will also be participating in the Asian Games that is scheduled to take place in South Korea in October this year.
Sathishkumar’s father Sivalingam, an ex-army man, who also began his career as a weightlifter in the 1980s, told Express that both his sons, Sathishkumar and Pradeepkumar, had evinced interest in weightlifting right from their childhood.
As a student of class VIII, Sathish had joined the State-run special weightlifting centre at Sathuvachari. He won the gold medal in the State championship in the sub-junior category and went on to win national championships later.
“When I started my career as a weightlifter, there was no government coaching centre but my training in a private gymnasium helped me join the Indian Army,” Sivalingam said. As a son of a beedi-roller, Sivalingam could not have dreamt of joining the army, he said, adding that after retirement, he was able to mould his sons into professional weightlifters.
Sathishkumar who was studying his first year degree course, got a job in the Southern Railways under the sports quota. His second son is also likely to get a job soon, he added.
For the poor and lower middle class families, sports is the only route to landing government jobs, he added.
Sivalingam felt that the government should extend assistance and help to youngsters who have been selected to represent the country to take part in international games and championship events in the form of championship development scheme that would extend financial support to focus on winning medals.
Lower and middleclass families cannot provide food supplements and other logistics for their wards to take part in international events, this is where the government should help with special schemes, he said. According to Sivalingam, his son is now tuned towards winning an Olympic medal and later perhaps the Arjuna award.