The Erode-born engineering graduate sets his eyes on 2016 Olympics

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Arun Kumar Malaichamy, tough cookie that he is, staved off a stiff challenge to finish on top of the podium in the second Gun for Glory Shooting Championship at the Balewadi Shooting Range in Pune last week.

The championship attracted established names in Indian shooting. But Erode-born Arun, who had his early stint at the Coimbatore Rifle Club range, shot a 577 /600 for the gold in the 10m air pistol event for civilians.

The 27-year-old also wrested the bronze in the open class, finishing behind three-time Olympian Samaresh Jung (CISF) and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gurpreet Singh (Indian Army). It was a class achievement by the youngster, considering the strength of the field.

“It was not easy to fight such a field as a civilian. But, I am proud to have made it to the podium alongside stars such as Samaresh and Gurpreet,” Arun told The Hindu from Pune.

“He deserves the victory. He is quite talented and works very hard during practice. He is also very dedicated,” said London Olympics bronze medallist Gagan Narang.

“He is young. If given the right exposure, he may well shoot for the country,” he added.

A graduate from Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, Arun joined the Gun for Glory Shooting Academy, initiated by Gagan, 14 months ago. Prior to that, he shuttled between Erode and Coimbatore for training under Arjuna awardee Satendra Kumar (Navy).

And, Satendra was immensely pleased to train this young man as he had the ability to listen and do things quickly. Thanks to Satendra, Arun managed to strike it big in the State and the all-India G.V. Mavlankar Shooting Championship.

His thirst to succeed did not end there.

He wanted to shoot for his country. And, he decided to quickly join the Gun for Glory Academy, the first international world class shooting academy in the country.

Interestingly, he was the first recruit. And, quite surprisingly he clinched the Academy’s first gold medal in the Gun for Glory shooting championship last year.

“I must consider myself very lucky training here. Vijay Kumar (London Olympics silver medallist) and Gagan and many others are helping me out. I have learnt so much from them in the last six months,” said Arun.

“Initially, I thought I was a lonely man in this part of the world. I even doubted whether I had made the right decision. But, now I am totally convinced,” he added.

Arun learnt the art of working hard from his father Alagupillai Malaichamy. “He has supported me right through. I owe a great deal to him,” he said.

“We backed him monetarily but there were others such as Sylendra Babu (the then Coimbatore City Police Commissioner) and Satendra Kumar who inspired him all along,” said Mr. Alagupillai.

“I feel the State and the Centre must come forward to support such upcoming talents in their Olympic dreams.

Arun thanked his parents, his brother Mithun and Satendra for the words of encouragement and support. “If it was not for them, I would not have come this far.”

“I have sacrificed the best of both worlds (family and friends) with an eye on the big games. And, trust me, I will be there in the 2016 Olympics,” he added.

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