This former TN veteran gives job candidates early- The New Indian Express

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Express News Service

MADURAI: The sky has just woken up from its deep slumber, with the sun’s rays giving a golden touch to all it caresses; several young people, 20 of them wearing sports clothes, rushed out of their humble homes and started running towards a nearby plot of what they called their ‘training ground’.

By the time they got there, their trainer GM Ramachandran, a former soldier wearing an all-grey moustache, was already there. When he says ‘give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach someone to fish and you feed him for life’, he means it, as he’s been providing police and defense recruits with physical training since 2017. Schoolchildren also didn’t go off the radar when he coached them for Authority Boarding Admissions Sports Development.

Although an average student, Ramachandran said, it was his prowess in sports, especially running, that helped him get elected to the Indian Army in 1976. While still in the Army, he was certified to train in gymnastics and athletics.

The Madurese native began thinking about training children while he was living in Periyakulam in Theni. “After my military duty, I worked in the revenue department until 2016. Then, I moved to Palani. While going jogging there, several young men used to approach me and ask for advice on physical fitness and career development. That’s when it all started,” he said.

Without the slightest hesitation, Ramachandran began to train them in running, climbing ropes, long jumps and the like. Immediately, he felt his ‘trainee’ could make it big in a different career if he needed a little more effort.

“This will uplift their families too, as most of them come from financially poor backgrounds. I tasted my first success in a year, as 12 of my 15 students got placements in various services — 10 in the police department, one in the fire and rescue department, and one in the military,” he proudly says.

The success was also eye-opening for him as he realized two things — one, there is no dearth of talent, and two, it is poverty that holds many people back from achieving success. Ramachandran cites the example of a young man who came all the way from a remote village for training, who used to attend the sessions taking food from the nearby Amma Unavagam. “I used to help children like that by buying them shoes, paying for exams and giving them nutritious food,” he added.

Then, when Ramachandran moved to Madurai in 2019, he could not find a suitable training ground. “That’s when I saw 50 cents of vacant land near my house. I approached the landowner, Vijayakumar, a retired police officer, and he was increasingly ready to provide assistance. He gave permission to use the land to establish land,” he recalled. Taking financial support from his wife and brother, he turned the plot into land. Now, 20 prospective workers and 40 children are undergoing training there under Ramachandran.

N Gomatham, 23, working as a firefighter in Ennore, Chennai, said he was able to complete exams for the Army and fire service in 2017, that too, in his first attempt, simply because of his “master” training. “I am from a remote village in Balasamuthiram Kurumpalayam. Master showed me the right path,” he said.

The thanks to the master are full of the words of R Balakrishnan, 30, a shooter with paramilitary forces in Assam, when he spoke of how former soldiers gave him shoes and nutritious food which he could not buy due to his family’s financial condition. “He has helped many people realize their dreams. Master has a special place in the recesses of my heart,” he said.

The young ones who hit the ground, ran, knew what they had to do. They occupied different places and waited for their master’s orders. Among them is M Noor Nisha, a sophomore at MCom, who has been training for the past year to crack tests for police sub-inspectors.

“He always motivates us by telling stories of female sportsmen. If I go elsewhere for training, I will have to spend at least Rs 1,000 a month. Here, the master trains us for free, that too twice a day. This training inspires us to do something good for society,” he said and returned to the training ground while running.

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