G. Satish Kumar, a 32-year-old PT master at Swami Dayananda Matriculation School, has been providing kabaddi coaching for the girls in Koovathur fishing hamlet for the past three years. His aim: to secure a good future for them. Though the coaching is free, he is forced to seek donations from others to provide jerseys and shoes for the team members. Now the district police have come forward to help his team.
“Most of the families here are poor and some of them get their girl children married at an early age due to poverty. I wanted to stop this. Hence I went and spoke to the parents and convinced them that the sport can fetch their children collegiate education and a good job. Many of them agreed and started sending their children for coaching despite their hardship,” he said.
He formed a sports club and is now coaching 15 girls who are studying in Class VII.
“It takes three years to develop a good team. They have won district and divisional tournaments and took part in State-level school kabaddi events. But the team does not have proper jerseys or shoes and I struggle to take them for tournaments in other districts. Being poor, most of the children are are not able to fend even for their travel expenses,” he added.
The team is supposed to participate in a tournament in Tiruvannamalai on Friday and when Mr. Kumar was wondering how to travel to the district with his team mates, help arrived from the police. “I heard about the team and I requested a NGO called Directions Charitable Trust to sponsor them. We will try to help them in whichever way possible. Involving the girls in sports and making them excel in it will help prevent child marriages too. We will organise other skill development programmes,” said E Sundaravathanan, ASP, Mamallapuram sub-division.
Arjunan Isaiarasu from Directions Charitable Trust said his organisation was happy to help the team. “We will continue to support them,” he said.
M. Nathiya, mother ōf M. Narmada who is part of the Kabaddi team, said she wanted her daughter to excel in sports and get a good job. “Seeing her, other residents in our hamlet are inspired and send their daughters for coaching. We will not get her married at a young age, we want her to pursue higher studies. All this is happening due to the efforts of this kabaddi coach,” she said.