Published: 10th September 2019
These TN Govt school kids have qualified for Rural Int'l Games in Nepal, but can't afford the travel. Can you help?
The medalists have the chance to participate in Indo-Nepal Rural Olympic Games and are all eager to participate but don't have the money to do so. Will anyone help?
There is a group of 13 boys in the Perambakkam Government Boys' Higher Secondary School, Tiruvallur. Six of these boys have got gold and silver medals in Volleyball while the rest have medals in Judo. They all have the opportunity to now compete at the international level at a tournament in Nepal but instead of celebrating, they are disappointed and dejected.
The boys have all the talent but no sponsor to fund their trip.
Angeline Kalpana has been a Physical Education teacher at the school for seven years and is one of the very few, if not the only, teacher in TN who teaches judo in a government school. Over the years, she has encouraged many students to take up the sport and in the last couple of years, the students have competed at various championships. "I learned judo from the person known as the Father of Fencing in Tamil Nadu, Vishwanathan and I've been giving free coaching for government school students in Tiruvallur and now I'm here as a part-time teacher," Angeline said. In the last two years, the students have participated in championships and she paid for it herself, "As long as it was within the state I could afford it. The Lions Club also helped us out so far but going to Nepal is too expensive for us."
The medalists have the chance to participate in the Indo-Nepal RGOI International Championship organised by the Rural Games Organisation of India and are all eager to participate. Abdul Kalam is only 13 and when we asked him if he was waiting to go to Nepal and he said, 'Paisa illa'. He seems to have made peace with it but of course, if given the chance he would back his bag in seconds, after all, he has been practicing judo since he was 8-9 years old. Angeline says that the students cannot get depend on their parents but even the school is not very supportive. Not just financially though, "They don't want students to get distracted from studies and feel like this is unnecessary. But we only practise after school and they only send students who are already studying well to the class, so I don't see a problem. We have to try and make them understand that this is the first time students from a government school are getting the chance to compete internationally."
Sixteen-year-old K Sanjay who received a gold medal in volleyball says he's heartbroken that they can't go. He's been playing the game since he was seven, a love he picked up from his uncle who used to be a volleyball player. "I want to become just like him. I want to play and become better," he said. Sanjay lost both his parents at a young age and is being brought up by his grandmother and has a younger sister, there is no way that he can afford the trip to Nepal. "Everybody in my village thinks I'm a great player and I want to live up to that expectation. I have no one to look after me or help me pay for this but we all really want to go," he said.
Guru Kishore is another 16-year-old from who won the silver medal in judo. His father is a lorry driver who recently switched to driving an auto because of health issues and his mother is ill as well. He has been getting trained in judo only for the last two years, "It's all because of Angeline Miss that I realised I love judo. She really encouraged me and now I want to do this for life, I'm not too great at studies but this sport is my life and I want to be able to compete in Nepal. All of us come from difficult backgrounds, I hope somebody would help us," he said.
"When I won the gold, I really felt like I achieved something big. I want to feel the same way at an international level of the game too," Sanjay said. The 13 children are waiting to see if someone offers to sponsor them to play the game they love and also win at it!
If you would like to contribute, please get in touch with the PE teacher, Angeline Kalpana here - 8489388697 Or contribute directly here - M Kalpana, 05170110083390, UCO Bank.