Express press service
CHENNAI: 14 years old. And a cool 5 lakh in the bank? Do not worry. The boy in question earns every penny on merit. He is one of Tamil Nadu’s most promising swimmers, creating ripples in the national circuit for a while now. S Akash is a student of Velammal Vidyalaya (Mogappair West), who has made medals won in events organized by the National School Games Federation of India such a habit that prizes are pouring in.
Achievements like a double silver and bronze each in these competitions mark him as one for the future. One of the few states that encourage athletic excellence from a training stadium with cash rewards, the government of Tamil Nadu has spared no effort to encourage this talent. Akash has won more than 150 medals over the past five years or so, in various state meetings. He holds the state record in the 50m backstroke, clocking 38.85 seconds. For someone so young, that’s a remarkable statistic.
“It’s great to be recognized by the government. It will motivate me to do better, ”says the youngster, who is no genetically foreign to sport. Her father V Sajith is a former bodybuilder and her mother Uma Sajith a national level volleyball player. Unlike most of his classmates who took up chess, Akash chose swimming. “It’s the only sport where the whole body works in sync with the mind. It is the only sport where all members are physically exercised.
I started swimming when I was eight and am enjoying it every moment. He trains at SDAT-Dolphin Swimming Academy, Mugappair West, under the guidance of coaches KT Muraleedharan and Rani Anisia. Both husband and wife are certified by the National Sports Institute and have been practicing sports for 30 years. One of their famous neighborhoods is national record holder Nisha Millet. “Akash is a hardworking, dedicated and disciplined swimmer.
His parents are very supportive and take care of his diet according to the advice. His father is a former bodybuilder who takes care of his fitness. The Tamil Nadu Sports Development Authority (SDAT) is helping it. It is part of the champions development program, ”said Muraleedharan. “He has a flair for the sport and the potential to be a world class swimmer. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, swimmers’ training schedules have been affected for nearly a year.
We look forward to opening them soon and getting them ready for national events, ”added the former national coach. Akash found himself in a strange situation during the lockdown. With things getting better, he feels relieved. “It was difficult to train without swimming. But I didn’t let my body relax. I did floor workouts and stretching sessions. I did basic training and was strict with my diet plans. I am happy to return to my other house (swimming pool), where I will spend more time, ”says fan Michael Phelps.