Made in India and making India proud!
The Young Achievers Award 2022-23, hosted by RCME
23rd November, 2022
What does table tennis and cycling have in common? The answer ofcourse is child prodigies, Rian Kumar and Hansini Mathan who have given in their blood sweat and tears towards building their passion. The Young Achievers Award, 2022 hosted by the Rotary Club of Madras East was a humble celebration of the two child prodigies and there was no dearth of raised eyebrows and abundant appreciation throughout the event in celebration of these children.
Rian Kumar, a 7 year old cyclist, wakes up at 3:30 am on the days on which he has marathons and latest by 5:30 on the days he doesn’t. As if this weren’t enough, he also attends school. Rian Kumar started cycling at the tender age of 6, when in 2021, with the schools shutting down, his mother commander Gauri Mishra started taking him on cycling rides along with her. Pleasantly surprised with his natural flair for cycling, the mother son duo started going on longer rides, building up to thrice a week ride from Chennai to Mahabalipuram. His mother Gauri says that it started off wanting to explore the city and sample new restaurants. Voila! soon enough, they were going on cycling trails with cycling enthusiasts and professionals across the city.
Within a short span of 6 months he had completed a 108 km ride in 5 hours and it was then that his mother called up the world book of records and realized that no other kid has achieved such a feat, that too on an ordinary bicycle! Soon, Rian beat his own record by completing a 150 km ride in 7 hours all the way to Puducherry and back, through Kalpakkam. Naturally deserving of the child prodigy tag, cycling is not his only talent.
Having hosted him at the RCME, on the evening of 23.11.2022, I think all of us would agree that Rian is a sociable and confident 7 year old. This is clear from Rian’s parting note to us- “If you work hard and practise, you can achieve anything in the world,”. Trembling to ask, whether greater heights are possible, we anyway did and learnt that his ambition is to complete the Tour de France!
As graceful as a swan, this little girl has achieved no little feat. Highly talented yet humble, Hansini a table tennis champion is already eyeing the Olympics and a win for India. Apart from her talent, what sets Hansini apart from the rest is her idea of community and country. During her speech, Hansini, never once said that the sport was being played for her personal gain. She was sure to reiterate that she was playing table tennis out of personal passion but for the victory of her country. She wanted her country to win in the Olympics and she was sure to be grateful to not just her family but also the divine power who has given her the strength to achieve this feat. Let me now list her never ending feats. Hansini started off playing table tennis as an accident- while accompanying her brother who was attending table tennis class. Immediately recognizing a god given skill in her- the coach, convinced her parents to let her learn.
In the blink of an eye, this table tennis prodigy, the 10-yr-old Hansini Mathan Rajan clinched the bronze medal in her maiden appearance at the International Table Tennis Federation junior circuit event. At 11, Hansini has bagged 28 medals for Tamil Nadu at the national level. But that is not enough for her, as the driven paddler, has further set her sights on winning an Olympic medal.
While the details of her feat are readily available with a quick google search, I am not here to list out her never ending achievements, I do want to add in a quick line about this child superstar- Be it her heartful smile or her pure intention to work hard, Hansini is a star in all respects. We not only have to learn from her for her motivation and skill of the game, but her humility and trust in the goodness of the world. Her father, who accepted the award on her behalf showed us where her humility came from. He was sure to thank everybody. A brilliant girl in her own right, Hasini vowed the crowd with her simplicity.
The sponsor and host
This article would never be complete without mentioning those recognizing the talent. RCME as they do every year, set up a fair and efficient jury to choose our young achievers. Unanimously, the two awardees were zeroed in on and we couldn’t be happier. Rtn.Murugavel Selvan, the sponsor for the event, was quick to acknowledge the importance of the event and the prodigies and sponsor them. Equally, RCME was quick to recognize them and appreciate the talent.
The event was grandiose and youthful. It was an evening filled with laughs and giggles and motivation. Trust me when I say, one of the most motivating speeches we have heard at RCME, is from Rian and Hansini. It certainly motivated us to pull up our socks and make resolutions. The citations were beautifully penned and the event saw wide participation from Rotarians and Anns and Annettes with Annettes, Nandita Kannan and Avinash Ramakumar Mc’ing the event.
The evening ended with some delectable food and the choicest of deserts and several resolute resolutions, which will have to be tested during the next award function. It was honour to honour Rian and Hansini and every single member in the audience went back vowing to be better motivated the next morning!
Rtn Ramya Subramaniam