SUCCESS STORY A group of students has proved that passion and dedication when complemented with proper training will help climb up the ladder of success.
Eijaz, Thangamanyu, Loganathan and their friends never miss their practice sessions. They assemble at the Nehru stadium well before time, meticulously follow their coaches’ instructions and soon you can see them getting down to mastering new techniques. These young achievers have proved that true passion and dedication will help to get over all obstacles and achieve our dreams. Disha Sports Academy has given them the opportunity to learn and polish their skills and prove their calibre at various state and national level competitions.
Nurturing young talent
This CSR initiative of Ma Foi Foundation attempts to explore talent from among students from economically weak backgrounds and provide for their holistic development while focusing on nurturing their sports skills. The academy, launched in 2009, trains students between 10 to 14 years in football, boxing and athletics. Apart from scientific training by expert coaches, the academy provides complete sports accessories, educational scholarships, medical facilities and nutrition supplements during the training days for students selected for training.
Around 100 students have benefited by this programme and most of them are from various government schools across the city. A National Bronze Award winner in boxing and a Std VII student at the Chennai Urdu Middle School, Eijaz S. said, “My dad likes boxing and that’s how I too got interested in this sport. He runs a tea stall. He tries in every way to encourage and support me. Disha has given me this rare opportunity.” These students have already made their mark through their meritorious performance, winning top positions in school, regional, south zone, state and national level competitions. “I have always wanted to learn athletics,” said G.Thangamanyu, a std IX student at Lourdes Girls Higher Secondary School who had won a gold medal in high jump at state level and a bronze in south zone. “The exposure I got here has given me the confidence that I can do more. Now from our school also we get a lot of encouragement. Our coaches here take care of all aspects of training and this is what inspires us to set our goals high.”
The students said that earlier they ere nervous and found it a little difficult to take part in competitions and deal with participants from other places. “Now we can see that they have the confidence that they are on par with boxers from other places. Earlier they had an inferiority complex and were shy to approach strangers when we take them for sports events. Now they easily go and socialise and are mentally prepared to take challenges,” says Perumal Ramawamy, chief coach, Athletics. Loganathan J, Assistant Coach, boxing, explains the selection process. The academy informed all the schools in the city about the training programme. We observe the students for 10 days to see if they have it in them to pursue the sport and a passion to learn. They have to pass the battery test. We have even succeeded in winning state level competitions with just six months of training. Disha also tries to make sure that our students pay enough attention to academics.”
“If we see that the students are physically weak we take special care of their nutrition needs. Our holistic programme tries to make them physically and mentally strong. But ours is a method of training without straining,” says Perumal Ramaswamy.
T.Venkatadri, a std IX student, is grateful to his friend for introducing him to the training centre. “I joined here one and a half years back and am really happy to do what I am most interested in.”“My brother is a boxer. One day I came here with him and when I saw the training, I too wanted to join, said S.Prakash, Std. X, Hindu Theological H.S.S. Sowcarpet, who won a gold medal at the Sub-Junior Independence Day meet. He enjoys every aspect of the training process and never want to misses any session.
The coaches take care to keep the students interested and engaged. “In boxing we focus on skill training to make them strong in defence and conduct continuous sessions to improve endurance. In between we give time for them to play volleyball and football to refresh them. Local as well as long trips are arranged to give them more exposure and opportunity to meet boxers from different places, said Bhaskarson, chief coach, Boxing.
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