Unsung Hero: A Man Whose Eye For Talent Made India Richer
This story seems like it has come straight from a Bollywood script and don't be surprised if in future it does become one. We all know there is no dearth of raw talent in India, but it takes a special eye to recognize one and turn it into gold. This story is about a person who spotted talent when he saw one and had no issues to go an extra mile to turn the raw into a polished gem.
This story is about KS Ajimon, Sarita Gayakwad's, one of the winners of 4x400m relay coach. He worked as a former national coach but then he was soon appointed by the Gujarat government as Expert Coach at a Nadiad-based academy run by the Sports Authority of Gujarat (SAG). He first spotted Sarita when she took part in a 400 meters' trial race organized by the SAG in search of a new talent in Gandhinagar in 2015. To everyone's astonishment she managed to finish the run in a little over one minute.
Ajimon knew that she was meant to represent India on international levels. But things weren't that easy. As she was from Dang, a tribal area, she could not even speak Hindi, Ajimon had to take help of a Gujarati coach to convince her to join Nadiad Academy.
Sarita, basically a kho-kho player didn't seem very keen on leaving studies and devoting herself completely to sports. But Ajimon was not the kind to let go of things he set his mind on. He knew she was physically fit and they needed her. Thus, began the arduous task of winning the trust of the youngster. After persistent effort she finally relented.
Sarita was a realist, she decided to switch from kho-kho to athletics only because an athlete winner is paid better. Sarita grew up in extreme poverty, daughter of a farm labourer, always lived in a kuchcha house. Her main aim was to help her parents.
Sadly, she could not complete her graduation but she, diligently trained at the academy for one-and-a-half years. During that period, she took part in some national-level games, and finally, was selected for the national team. To Ajimon's amazement Sarita came out to be immensely talented and disciplined.
On Day 12 of Asian Games, the Indian women's quartet of Hima Das, MR Poovamma, Sarita Gayakwad and Vismaya Velluva Koroth ran 3 minute and 28.72 seconds to claim the gold. It was India's fifth consecutive gold medal in 4x400m women's relay in the Asian Games.
“As a coach, I am extremely happy today. This is the day I had been waiting for the past two years,” Ajimon, told Mirror in an interview.
An emotional Sarita couldn't help mentioning her coach, who had been with her like a solid rock, always believing in her. “When I was running, the life just flashbacked... All the hardships that my parents had undergone to train me, all the efforts and faith that my coach had put in me…. Everything just played in front of my eyes.”
The state government on Friday announced a cash prize of Rs1 crore for Sarita Gayakwad. She hopes to buy a pressure cooker for her mother and contribute for building a pucca house for her family.
Hats off to KS Ajimon, who helped Sarita see what she can be rather than what she was. India needs more coach like these who not only improves their student's game but also improves their lives.
Picture Sorce : NewsJizz, Orange News, Free PressJournal
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