"The Khelo India platform has been really helpful for me personally" - Tamil Nadu Kabaddi player M Ajay

Tamil Nadu Kabaddi player M Ajay (Credit: PR)
Tamil Nadu Kabaddi player M Ajay (Credit: PR)

M Ajay’s first trip to Guwahati as part of the men’s kabaddi team of VELS Institute of Science and Advance Studies, Tamil Nadu, for the Khelo India University Games encountered a significant setback. He sustained a hand fracture during the team’s opening match against Guru Kashi Punjab University at the Sarusajai Sports Complex.

Ajay, serving as the left cover defender for his team, is participating in his fourth Khelo India Games overall. It includes two appearances at the Khelo India Youth Games and the previous edition of the Khelo India University Games. For Ajay, this platform holds special significance as the scholarship he receives under the scheme has been crucial in supporting his family since his father's passing last year.

Ajay's father, who worked as a school bus driver, died away last year, leaving behind Ajay, his mother, and his younger sister, who is studying in Madurai. Reflecting on the support he's received, Ajay said on ANI:

“The Khelo India platform has been really helpful for me personally. The scholarship amount of Rs 10,000 helps me to support my family, especially after my father passed away last year."
“Apart from that, I take part in the local tournaments in Chennai and earn a few extra bucks from the prize money. That also helps me with pocket money and enables me to pursue the sport," he added.

Recalling a poignant moment with his father before his tragic death, Ajay said:

“If I can recollect properly, I was playing the All-India Inter-University Games in Rohtak, and after losing a match, I had a conversation with him when he encouraged me to not lose my focus and not take the loss to my heart.”

Ajay laments missing out on his team's second game at the Khelo India University Games 2023

Ajay lamented missing out on the opportunity to play in his team's second game against Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University due to his injury.

“I wanted to play the match, but again sometimes you accept what fate has in store for you. Hopefully, we win the gold," he stated.

Despite the setback, Ajay expressed his satisfaction with the facilities at the Sarusajai Sports Complex and praised the organizers of KIUG 2023, Ashtalakshmi, for the smooth conduct of the event.

“This is my first trip to Assam, and I’m enjoying every bit of it. The tournament is anyway very close to my heart, and the organizers here have ensured that the athletes are well taken care of,” he said before signing off.

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Edited by Ankush Das