S Loganathan harbours a dream—he wants to give a platform to athletes who come from disadvantaged backgrounds so that they can perform on the international stage one day.
Through the Kavinadu Youth Sports Club, that he established in 2006 in Pudukottai, Tamil Nadu, Mr Loganathan has not only fulfilled this dream but also gone beyond it!
This patient gentleman has so far trained and mentored a total of 9 international long-distance runners, who have gone on to participate in prestigious international sporting events like the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Athletics Championships, winning medals in the bargain.
However, it was a bittersweet moment for him, when his daughter, who was representing India in the women’s 10,000-metre long-distance run at the ongoing Commonwealth Games at Australia, finished 13th in the event.
Nevertheless, the man has the spirit of a real fighter, and backing his daughter 100%, believes that she has the potential to make it big in the coming events.
Some of the athletes who have trained at Mr Loganathan’s club include 12-time international medallist Santhi Soundararajan and G Lakshmanan, the latter being the first Indian to win a double gold at the Asian Athletic Championships, last year.
Mr Loganathan’s zeal to mentor athletes comes from his own experience. Speaking to the Times of India, he revealed that when he was young, he knew he had the potential to excel in sports and wanted to represent India at the Olympics.
Unfortunately, financial woes at his home forced him to drop the idea entirely but he decided to not get bogged down by the disappointing turn of events, and instead, help other athletes achieve their dreams.
The former employee of the Income Tax office in Chennai has been keeping an eye out for talented athletes who come from underprivileged backgrounds, since the 80’s. He set up the Kavinadu Youth Sports Club, in 2006 with an objective to impart more organised training.
However, the initial days were hard. He remembers how, due to the scarcity of funds, the athletes could only train on a tar road, which had a track length of just 155 metres. In fact, none of the athletes at the academy were privy to spike shoes until they participated at national level meets, where they picked up medals.
Mr Loganathan is understandably proud when he says that his athletes have won more than 1000 medals. In a country obsessed with cricket and its associated glamour, it is heartening to see someone actively push other sports, and encourage youngsters, especially the ones who come from underprivileged backgrounds.