“My goal, as a coach, is to fulfil the dream of winning an Asian Games gold, which I could not achieve as an athlete,” said Santhi Soundarajan, minutes before receiving her NIS Diploma coaching certificate from Olympian Ashwini Nachappa on the concluding day of her year-long course here at the SAI South Centre on Wednesday.

Santhi had won the 800m silver at the Doha Asian Games, and a silver in the same event at the Incheon Asian championships the previous year. She was, however, stripped of her Asian Games medals after failing a gender test back in 2006.

Santhi spoke with confidence and clarity. “You all know what I went through those harrowing days. Well, I have put all that behind me now. I worked and trained privately in Chennai and in Pudukottai for about two years (2007-09).

Then, I worked with a French NGO till 2012. All the while I was nursing the dream of achieving through a trainee what I could not achieve; and it is that determination brought me to this centre,” she said.

“This was a wonderful learning experience for me…as an athlete we were told and taught certain things. As a coach, being on the other side we learn greater things. Now I am more determined and confident as an individual,” Santhi said.

“Here, at the course, everyone was very supportive and helped me come out of the mindset that I was in…and I am eternally thankful to all the staff members and fellow diploma coaches for their cooperation,” she added.

Santhi was one of the 24 coaches in athletics, out of the 108 students who attended the course in eight disciplines this year. Volleyball’s Siju Joseph was declared ‘the overall best student’.


  • Santhi Soundarajan receives NIS Diploma coaching certificate


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