Satish Kumar M, a class XII student of Corporation Higher Secondary School, Rathinapuri, is thrilled. He has recently won two gold medals in 3000 m and 5000 m race at the Tamil Nadu School State Athletics Championship at Neyveli. “He also set state record for both the events. His timing was 8.49 minutes and 15.31 minutes respectively,” says Vairavanathan S, his coach and founder of Genesis Sports Foundation.
He had also won a bronze medal in the 3000 m athletics meet (under 18 category) at the Junior National Athletics meet held at Ranchi in November. “He is the first school boy from South India to win a medal in this competition. His timing was 8.4 minutes and he missed the gold by three seconds,” says the coach.
The 17 year old says that he has been interested in sports from a young age. “I used to participate in local events. But, I realised my potential after meeting my coach.” Satish trains for three hours every day. “I travel 25 km everyday from my home at Kurumbapalayam to practise. I also do high-altitude training in the Nilgiris in summer and sand training in Ottapalam in winter. It helps improve my endurance and muscle strength.”
Vairavanathan has been coaching Satish from 2015. “I first saw him outside Nehru Stadium looking at a marathon banner. He was in his school uniform. He told me he wished to participate in the marathon and I agreed to train him. He won a bronze in and this inspired him to take sports seriously.” Satish enjoys running 5000 m as much as he does 3000 m. “Long-distance runners require a lot of strength. I also make sure I have a protein-rich diet.” His inspiration is Kenenisa Bekele, an Ethiopian long-distance runner. “He holds the world record for both 5000 m and 10000 m. I believe that he is a legend.”
Satish, whose father is a construction worker, ran with sandals as he could not afford sports shoes. “Now I save the money I win in marathons and buy myself sports accessories. My trainer and friends also help me.” He is now preparing for the School National Athletic Championship that will be conducted in January at Delhi. “I am participating in 3000 m race and a 6-km cross-country race. I hope to win medals in both.” His biggest dream? “To represent India in the 2020 Olympic games.”