When J. Krishnamoorthi broke the news to his son, J.K. Aswin, that he would soon get a medal from President Pranab Mukherjee, there was not much of a reaction.
After explaining that the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development had selected him for the silver medal and that the President will present to him the same on November 14, the reaction was rather unexpected.
“He cried,” says Mr. Krishnamoorthi.
“Aswin was worried that he would not be able to celebrate Deepavali – unable to wear new clothes and burst crackers with friends.” This was because according to the Ministry’s instructions, the family was supposed to be present in New Delhi on November 13.
The Ministry had selected the boy for a silver medal for his achievements in cycling.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi and his wife R. Hemalatha explained to the boy the importance of the medal. They also promised him that they would take him to New Delhi only after he celebrated Deepavali.
And they kept their promise by taking the evening flight from Coimbatore.
The next day, Aswin was at the Darbar Hall in Rashtrapathi Bhavan to receive the silver medal for outstanding achievement in cycling. He was one among the 25-odd children who won the award for achievements in their chosen field.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi says the Ministry’s announcement selecting Aswin for the award was a surprise for his wife and him as well because at the time of applying, they were under the impression that it was for an award to be presented by the district Collector on Children’s Day. They applied at the insistence of the former Secretary of the Coimbatore Cycling Association P. Nagaraj.
The boy began his tryst with cycling at eight when his father noticed him performing stunts with his bicycle. “He was too attached to his bicycle and stunts that it was difficult for me to ask him to take up serious cycling,” says Mr. Krishamoorthi, a cyclist himself.
Aswin’s paternal grandfather P.G. Jayaraman is also a cyclist.
Aswin practices two hours a day near his home in Kovaipudur. He does an additional hour or so during weekends under his father’s supervision. He has participated in a couple of state, and national events and won prizes.
He says his aim is to win prizes at the national and international level.