Saturday, July 29, 2017

Dhanasekar Rugby Star

Car Driver's Son aims to play for the Country
Financial Constraints pose as a challenge to meet even the basic Protein intake requirements for this 19 year old
Son of a Car driver in Gandhinagar, Adyar, Madras, 19 Year old K Dhanasekar (Dhanush) has cherished dreams of playing for India as a fly winger from the time he entered the Gandhinagar Sports Club ground in 2009 as a class 6 student of KRM Secondary School.  He has been from a financially weak background and continues to be but his sheer enthusiasm to give his best on the field ignited his TN State coach Arul Venkatesh to take special interest in this young lad, even then, almost ten years ago.

He is passionate and spends almost the entire evening each day of the year at one of the Rugby grounds in the city trying to hone his skills. There are days when one finds him practising hard at the SDAT. On some days, he is seen at the Anna University grounds. He is also slogging it out in the Gym trying to get  up into the desired levels of body strength to play this game at the highest levels.

He is good at both the (Rugby) Sevens as well as the Fifteens. 'Back' is a position that he has always been comfortable with.

Rugby is gaining momentum in India and is now being played across the country. It has also been included in the Asian Games, Common Wealth Games and the Olympics.  Sponsorship of the game is likely to take off in the coming years. 

Arul Venkatesh, who has represented in India in international tournaments remembers that first meeting from all those years ago ‘He was a small  and a lean boy. He was very shy, yet had the confidence to come and ask me if he could practice along with other boys, much senior to him. Through that period as a young school boy, he was a very disciplined student and would not miss a single practice session. He would come to the ground directly from school and would practice here at the Gandhi Nagar Sports Club ground till 7pm every day.”
Arul Venkatesh

Arul Venkatesh says that Dhanasekar is highly skilled and has the right ingredients to be a top notch Rugby player and could don the India colours for many years. The coach is of the view that Dhanasekar is easily a Top 10  Rugby Player in Tamil Nadu.

Given his talent and on the back of the hard work he put in, Dhanasekar represented Tamil Nadu in all the age group tournaments starting with U 13. By the time he was into college, he was already in the Tamil Nadu Senior State team. He also played for the TN U20 when he was just 15 years old.

Just last week, Tamil Nadu won the South Zone Nationals in Bangalore with Dhanush being an integral part of the team. He will now be accompanying the State team to Patna to play in the all India Nationals. A good performance there is likely to get him a place in the national camps.

Rugby gets University recognition
A great boost to him came when Rugby gained University recognition and now there would an official University tournament. Now into his 3rd year in B.Com at Hindustan College of Arts and Science, he has now been inducted into the Sports Quota at the University and the financial aspects relating to the third year of his college education are taken care of, as part of that system. 

In earlier years, it was the Secretary of the TN Rugby Association Senthil Thyagarajan (Director of Sathya Jothi Movies) who has been supporting his education as well as the expenses relating to Rugby including getting him the best of boots from the US.
A University tournament is coming up soon and that will be another opportunity for Dhanush to showcase his skills.

But with financial constraints he is quite a way behind on the body building aspects that are important for a Rugby player. Protein intake is a big challenge as it would cost  at least Rs. 15000 just to take care of the strengthening of the body (food nourishment) in addition to working out at the Gym. He is around 75 kgs but ideally a rugby player of his age is expected to be at least 10 kgs higher. 

His long term aim is to play international club rugby that will also help him become financially secure. A first step in this direction would be to play for India. Dhanasekar is confident of playing for the country in the near future.

A Coaching Engagement with a leading University 
He is also hopeful of getting into the police force after completing his academics. He has just got a coaching assignment from a University in Madras for next year as soon as he completes his graduation. If he chooses to accept this offer, he will be able to double up both as a player and a coach for the University in addition to pursuing his Masters Education from the University.  This coaching engagement will also help him financially.
Potential to play for the country
His coach Arul Venkatesh believes that Dhanasekar has the potential to play for the country, though he is personally worried that financial constraints could delay the body strengthening process that is so integral to Rugby. 

Having spent almost an entire decade at the Rugby grounds, Dhanasekar has grown from being a budding talent and  has emerged as a star player for Tamil Nadu. For him to graduate into the next phase and  in his quest to don the national colours, it is important that his basic financial requirements are taken care of so he can fully focus on his dream of playing for the country. While sponsors are ever willing to cash in on a player after his big achievements, it is hoped that Dhanasekar will find the right people to support him financially in his sporting endeavour at this early stage in his career when he needs them the most.

In the years to come, it is likely that we will hear a lot more of this teenager.

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