From Thiruttani to Chennai, it’s been quite a journey for the 43-year-old.
A key component of the SRM University , Chennai being one of the top sports institutes, their athletes interested in becoming top. Modeled on a program based on the vision by Chairman, Pari Vendhar, the Chennai based university recruits high-achieving students of diverse backgrounds to the sports quota admissions and help them to achieve their dreams by providing them all sort of necessities.
But being a SRMite (particularly sports) is much more than a career-prep time for aspiring young athletes who want to go to different places with high hopes.
“We’ve become a community,” says Albert Chandrasekar, a P.E. Staff and Head of the Basketball team, SRM University, Chennai. “We’ve become a family where the students can talk about their own experiences both on and off the pitch and the people in their lives who saw good in them and encouraged them to actualize their dreams.”
Born in the small town of Thiruthani, Albert has come a long way, he studied in a Government school. Although he started playing football from his school days, he was a permanent member of the school’s football team.
After completing his higher studies, Albert pursued B.Sc Physics at Nandaman College, Chennai and then B.P.Ed, M.P.Ed and M.Phil (2003) at YMCA and PhD (2012) at Tamil Nadu Sports University, under the control of YMCA.
Head of the SRM’s University basketball team, the 43-year-old has been with the varsity for more than 15 years says that people are working their socks off to see an athlete at the Olympic podium, make a social change through the sport and education and help their life meaningful one.
See how this Sports Teacher inspires his students to overcome their limits at SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai.
Please give us a brief introduction about yourself both as a player and as a P.E.T staff.
I belong to a small village in Thiruttani, where I studied at a government school. Right from an early age I was into outdoor sports. My school had great sporting facilities which helped me to experiment with various sports like football and basketball. Obviously, it was football towards which I got attracted the most.
Well, when I finished my M.Phil degree in Physical Education started to look for a full-time job straightaway. I was very fortunate to start my first work experience placement in Marine Engineering College, Avadi. I spent 1 year with the college learning and unlearning the concepts of sports education. And after the opportunity to join SRM University came along in 2004.
In 2005, we organised All-India Inter University Basketball Tournament in which secured the third place and in the next years, with hard work and determination, we emerged victorious clinching the first place on many occasions. Then things have really picked up since, thanks to the help provided by the University through their various Sports Development Programme.
What does your job as PE consist of?
My responsibility as a Head of Basketball Team is to infuse confidence in the youngsters and encourage them to display their talent on the field in a full-fledged manner without being apprehensive of committing errors. I make them understand that even that we are more than a staff and coach, we also act as a parent, friend, we understand their needs and try to rectify it.
What is the reason behind SRM University sporting success and being one of the top sports institutions in the nation?
The objective of the University is not only to offer degrees but it is also an institution for all round development of a human being. Sports events are important as they prepare students to be mentally strong for the challenges of life. We have seen players from SRM University making us proud and they will continue to do so in future too if we support them unhesitatingly.
We have 13 disciplines, each sport has an individual taking care of the sport, all of them are doctorate. Dr. K. Vaithianathan, Director Sports, former vice-chancellor of Tamil Nadu Sports University, who also has 40 years of experience in Annamalai University, held fort and took it upon us to bring about a change through the sport. A holistic development of the youth and the sufferers took centre stage.
That coupled with the vision of our Chairman, Pari Vendhar was to make us interact with fellow boys through the medium of sport and help them achieve stability. With access to free education, reduction in book fees and exam fees, diet, equipment and all other amenities, aimed at making the lives of the people better, more sound and meaningful, thereby enabling them to have careers as a professional sportsperson.
We give first priority to the sports players, one of the main reasons they are joining us is that we have a clear vision of what the sport will offer them in the future. All the players from different sports has been placed or appointed in various government jobs as well. Through sports quota many of them secured various profile jobs in the campus interview.
The reason why we are considered as one of the top sports institutes is because the importance we give to our athletes in order to achieve what we have been doing and our primary motive is to excel at all the sports we participate.
Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra said main goal was to “10-plus medals in Tokyo and beyond have a chance to host 2032 Olympics”, as a Physical Education (PE) Teacher, do you think it has inspired students?
Yes, it’s hard but achievable though with the help of proper grassroots programme and adequate support from the federations and association to make it come true. But in reality, we are way, way far behind other top countries to compete at the highest level in terms of winning scores of medals. It’s a long road ahead.
Our main objective is also producing loads of athlete, who can at least complete once in the Olympics. The coaches cooperate completely in regard to achieve that and are in sync with the same. It is time we provide a platform and bring the talents out.
Our university has produced countless talents over the years from Murali Vijay, Arun Karthik to many GMs and IM in chess and many international players almost in all of the sport. Of late, the level of competitiveness has improved by a huge measure. Our training programme are made in a manner so as to enable them compete at the highest level.
How important is the role of the PE teacher when it comes to nurturing young talent?
It’s so important. Our athletes winning, performing at the top level consistently is testament to that because it’s not just about indentifying and teaching young talent, it’s sending them on the right pathway so that they can benefit from the right coaching and opportunities. And I believe college time is a perfect deciding factor of your career, so we need to ensure that we have the knowledge and the training to help the athletes of the future. Of course, we need investment to help grow the legacy of the games which we get it here and provide the facilities for people to take part, but Physical Education teachers have a huge role to play, too.
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