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AAI holds football coaching camp for rural students

P.Oppili

26 Kancheepuram students participating



TEAM WORK: K.Ramalingam, Regional Executive Director, AAI with students at the coaching camp at Meenambakkam on Thursday. — Photo: A. Muralitharan

CHENNAI: Many football enthusiasts in rural areas used shoes and jerseys for the first time in their lives, thanks to a coaching camp organised by the Airports Authority of India.

A total of 26 students from schools in the rural belt of Kancheepuram district, such as Thirupputkuzhi, Kovur and Konerikkuppam were selected for a week-long camp, which began this Monday.

K. Ramalingam, Regional Executive Director, Airports Authority of India (AAI), said the Southern Region Sports Control Board, an arm of the AAI, organised the camp. He said: "The objective is to create awareness of civil aviation and AAI among rural students, besides providing them an opportunity to learn the habits of living together with diversified groups."

Dr. Ramalingam said the authorities explained to the principals of the rural schools and they selected the students for the camp and sent to them to Meenambakkam, the camp venue. Coaching begins at 6 a.m. and goes on till 8.30 a.m. It included warming up, conditioning exercises, specific skills training and football foundation course spread over a period of five days, said coach S.P. Somasundar. For M. Sarathkumar a class IX student from Konerikkuppam, it was his first trip to Chennai. He had never participated in a camp before. "I am happy to visit Chennai to attend a camp of this sort. We spend our mornings doing warm up exercises. The day is spent playing indoor games such as chess," he said.

Inter-group tourney

At the end of the five-day coaching, the participants would be divided into four groups and an inter-group tournament would be organised. The AAI had spent nearly Rs. 1 lakh for the camp, which offered food, accommodation, football kit and jerseys for each student. Dr. Ramalingam said this was the first such camp organised by the AAI.

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