It's like your dream come true, especially when you meet your idol and that's what made it special for students at KALS.

It was a rare occasion for the students and teachers of the Karumbaiah's Academy for Learning and Sports (KALS) to rub shoulders with the Indian hockey icon and former captain, Dhanraj Pillay, recently.

KALS is a premier education institution run by former Indian sprint queen, Ashwini Nachappa, and her sports-promoter husband, Datha Karumbaiah, at Gonicoppa in the district.

Star-struck

Students and teachers led by the Principal, Gowramma Nanjappa, accorded Mr. Pillay a rousing welcome as soon as he arrived at the school.

Students, who looked bemused at the glimpse of the star, surrounded him for autographs, some on booklets, or back of their jerseys and some more on their hockey sticks.

Mr. Pillay's love for children was evident as he interacted with every student, besides obliging with photographs.

Fond memories

It was a special occasion for Pranesh, a Std X student at the KALS as he recalled Mr. Pillay's visit to his home in Pune while he was a kid. Pranesh became nostalgic when he saw Mr. Pillay who had visited his house along with the then Indian goalkeeper, Ashish Ballal.

Mr. Pillay, who is on the Board of ‘Ashwini's Sports Foundation', was at the KALS to examine the possibilities of laying a synthetic hockey playing surface.

Expert in the field of laying synthetic playing surface, Deepak Khanolkar, too was present with him while Ms. Ashwini and Mr. Karumbaiah led them across the fields to show the progress of the work going on especially on the hockey fields, tennis courts, swimming pool and the athletic track.