For every sports loving parent, it would be an ideal situation if their kids were part of the Indian contingent in Olympics or any other international sporting event. For middle class parents though, the dream is too far stretched to even imagine. From the expensive equipment, staggering coach fees, irregular practice timings etc, these parents face it all. For Vijaya Kumar, it was his dream to see his children not only excel, but become known faces in the history of Table Tennis – and this reality is closer than he imagined.
It turns out that both his son and daughter (18 and 15 years old respectively) are able table tennis players of solid repute in Tamil Nadu’s playing circle. Not only do his kids train at Chandra’s TT academy run by V Chandrasekhar – a man regarded as one of the best in this sport, but, have become what they could from the meager savings of their father.
Their father, Vijaya Kumar, has faced severe hardships to get them where they are – because he’s only dependent on his monthly income from driving his Ola Auto – which earns him Rs 20,000 a month. To make a splash at the national level, he needs an outlay of Rs 4-5 lakh every year, to fund for his kids wooden rackets and rubber.
Inside his Chennai home apartment, one can easily spot two things – one is the collection of trophies that proudly sit on a three-tier shelf. This is a result of 10 years of their hard work and their consistent top ranking in different tournaments.
And second, is the framed photograph atop the refrigerator, with his two champion kids Vaishnavi (15 years) and Malesh Kumar Yadav (18 years) standing next to the then young Sharath Kamal, their favorite player so far. Malesh has transformed totally and looks fitter now, a sharp contrast from his chubby cheeks in this throwback picture.
Due to their achievements, their fees has been voluntary waved off at their training academies – currently, Vaishnavi is training at the Vin-Win Academy in SBOA School and Junior College, where she studies with a full sports scholarship.
At 18 and 15, they are already on the older side and parents want them to continue holding the paddle in their hands. We wish they become the greatest Table Tennis India’s ever produced.
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