Silambam players, coaches and members of Silambam associations were thrilled at the inclusion and welcomed the news with enthusiasm. “Making Silambam eligible for availing government jobs is a huge recognition for the sport as we expect more events to be conducted which will help us get form-II and form-III certificates for government jobs,” said S Shruthik, a college student from Vellore, who represented India at the International Silambam event held in South Korea.
Following the announcement of Sports Minister CV Meyyanathan in the Assembly, a GO was announced. “After the Minister made the announcement, students started queuing up for coaching. At present I am coaching more than 2,000 students in Vellore district alone,” said P Santhosh Kumar, a renowned Silambam coach and also the technical director of International Silambam Committee, the only Silambam organisation recognised by the UN.
Members of Silambam Associations feel that the GO will bring more veterans of the game into coaching and will help take the game to the next generation. Dr Thiyagu Nagaraj, General Secretary, Silambam Association of India, said that, with the number of COVID cases slowly decreasing, a surge in number of Silambam veterans entering into coaching is being witnessed and now, after the GO has been issued, more professionals will take up coaching, thus encouraging the younger generation to take up Silambam as a career option.
However, at present, there are at least three major Silambam associations in the State, with each claiming they are the officially recognised body. Thiyagu has urged either the Sports Minister or Chief Minister MK Stalin to unify them.