Madurai swimmer brings glory for Southern Railway in national meet

Southern Railway officials, including Additional General Manager Mallya and Madurai DRM Padmanabhan Ananth, had appreciated the 25-year-old for his achievements.

Published: 14th April 2022 05:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th April 2022 05:52 AM   |  A+A-

The MDSR team which secured first place in the All-India Inter Railway Aquatic Championship 2021-22 held at Calcutta recently | EXPRESS

Express News Service

MADURAI: After a long gap of 15 years, the Southern Railway has secured gold medals in the All India Inter-Railway Aquatic Championship, and the icing on the cake is that a swimmer attached to the Madurai Division of Southern Railway (MDSR) brought home the honours. Commercial Clerk cum Ticket Collector Emil Rabinsingh won four gold, two silver and two bronze medals in the championship held in Kolkata recently.

The 25-year-old hails from Tirunelveli district and has been working for the Madurai division for the last three years. At the age of five, Emil began swimming training along with his brothers, under the guidance of his father J Thangadurai, who had worked as a physical education director at a government school and later turned to business.

"Initially, I didn't take to swimming. But, I underwent training for the sake of my strict father. Every day, I was made to swim 6 km before school, and due to this, I was always yawning in the class. The teachers chided me for this regularly, and this inflamed my disinterest towards swimming. While the children my age were playing and hanging around, I was made to undergo rigourous practice sessions. However, I began to win top honours at school meets and gradually swimming grew on me and became my passion," says Emil.

His swimming exploits clinched him a seat in St. Xavier College at Palayamkottai. During his undergraduate course first year, Emil bagged two gold, two silver and one bronze at the national-level university meet. "Suddenly, I became famous in my college and everyone applauded me. Next year, I took part in the 'open national senior-level aquatic meet' and won a silver medal in the 400-metre individual medley (a combination of four different swimming styles), and this was a milestone in my career," he recalls.

Following that win, a coach from the Indian Defence invited Emil to join the forces. However, Thangadurai advised his son to complete the undergraduate course first. Upon completing his bachelor's degree in BA English literature, he received offers from the Defence and the Railways. "I jumped at the offer from the railways, as it is much safer and it will be easier to find a bride," Emil breaks into a chuckle.

Pointing out that the Sport Development Authority of Tamil Nadu, especially in the southern districts, have no swimming coaches, he said parents are forced to spend huge sums of money and hire private coaches for their children. "I request Chief Minister MK Stalin to look into the issue. This sport engages the whole body and will keep our body fit," Emil adds. At present, he is receiving training under coach Nihar Ameen from Dolphin Aquatics, apart from his father.

At the recently-concluded All India Inter-Railway Aquatic Championship, the Southern Railway topped the charts with 133 points. Apart from Emil, Abbasuddin (Chennai division), who won three gold, one silver and three bronze medals, and Anoop Augustine (Kerala), who bagged three gold and three silver medals, also made the Southern Railway proud. Pawan Gupta, who secured five gold, one silver and two bronze medals in the championship is the fastest swimmer right now in the Indian Railways, says Emil.

Southern Railway officials, including Additional General Manager Mallya and Madurai DRM Padmanabhan Ananth, had appreciated the 25-year-old for his achievements. The 25-year-old is now on a mission to clinch medals for India in the Commonwealth Games, and the Olympics.


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