TAMIL NADU

Open heart surgery did not deter this athlete

REMARKABLE ACHIEVEMENT: A.Ezhilmaran receiving a trophy from the Vice President, Athletic Federation of India W.I.Davaram in Udhagamandalam on Friday. Photo: D.Radhakrishnan  

D.Radhakrishnan

He practised under the guidance of his coach and made a mark for himself

Udhagamandalam: The Breeks-HADP Open Air Stadium here was a myriad of colours on Friday with thousands of boys and girls from various parts of the Nilgiris congregating to participate in different categories of a cross country event organized under the aegis of the Suverna International Institute of Management Studies.

In the crowd, a tenth class student of the CSI-CMM school, A.Ezhi lmaran, stood out because his reputation preceded him.

Son of Anbazhagan, a sanitary worker in the District Headquarters Hospital here, Ezhilmaran had been suffering from heart-related problems since birth.

He had undergone an open-heart surgery in a private hospital at Coimbatore during 2000, when he was about nine years old.

However, the boy, who loved sports - particularly long distance races - , did not allow the surgery to be a deterrent.

He practised hard under the guidance of his coach Jayachandran and made a mark for himself at the State level.

Having made the 800 metres race his favourite event, he emerged victorious in the Under-17 State-level meets held over the past few months at Madurai, Pudhukottai and Tiruchi.

In the nationals held in Bangalore during November 2006, he had come fourth.

Living up to his reputation, he won the Under-16 five-kilometre race with ease on Friday.

With the chief guest W.I.Davaram, Vice President, Athletic Federation of India singling him out for praise and fellow runners vying with each other to shake his hands or pat his back, Ezhilmaran told The Hindu that his surgery had never bothered him while running.

Till now, neither had he felt any discomfort nor any pain. "I want to set an example to the physically challenged community," he said.