Meet the teen from Pudukottai who won a Silambam competition at Goa University

Winning the silambam tournament, which is a weapon-based traditional arts-cum-sports form has always been a dream for Jayaseelan
Representational image
Representational image

For 13-year-old AS Jayaseelan, a class 8 student from Pudukottai, participating in a silambam tournament and achieving in the weapon-based traditional arts-cum-sports form has always been a dream. Earlier this month, in a national-level silambam tournament conducted by the Goa University, Jayaseelan along with Monish C (8) and Yogeeswaran R (9) bagged gold medals. The event saw the participation of over 100 silambam practitioners across the country.

Narrating his journey, Jayaseelan says, "I developed an interest in silambam after watching people perform the art form during temple festivals in Pudukottai. I wanted to practice and achieve in the future. Last year, I started training in it. This was my first tournament experience and I didn't expect a gold medal in my first national-level attempt."

Talking about his formative days in training, he explains, "Initially, the training period was difficult. I had never touched a stick before. During the first week, I had severe body pain but, the thought and drive to achieve pushed me to see beyond the pain and hardships. I went for practice regularly."

Though Jayaseelan's mother was initially reluctant to send him to Goa for the competition, assurance from his coach, Pandian gave her the confidence. "She thought I wouldn't be able to adjust in a new place. But, after my coach spoke to her, she agreed to send me. Now, she is happy that I won gold in my first attempt!” he says.

The students practised every day from 10 am to 4 pm for the last two months. “This was my first national-level tournament. Six months ago, I took part in a state-level competition and won a silver medal. I make sure that practising silambam doesn't affect my academics in any way. In fact, it has made my body fit and keeps me stress-free,” shares Monish.

The eight-year-old asserts that more effort should be made to improve the sport. "Everybody gives importance to other games. Despite silambam being the state's traditional sport, no proper recognition is given to the players," he shares. The students also share that their 'aasan' (master/coach) Pandian has been their strongest pillar of support.

“Though they all come from an economically weaker section of the society, they do well in both academics and sports. They give their 100 per cent. Other silambam students have support from sponsors, but these three children have come to this level through sheer hard work. I have been training them for the past two years. They've never missed a single practice session,” shares Pandian.

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