Athletes’ families, fans cheer, pray for success at Rio

The fact that India has sent its largest ever contingent to Rio, with around 121 athletes has raised the hope of many in the city, of the country winning more medals in this Olympics.
Athletes’ families, fans cheer, pray for success at Rio
Sathish (extreme left) with his families

Chennai

While the families of table tennis star A Sharath Kamal, weightlifter Satish Kumar Sivalingam and 19-year-old athlete Mohan Kumar are doing all they can to support the players from home; fans too have plans in place. Sathish Kumar Sivalingam, who won gold in 77 kg category at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, is all set to prove his mettle in Rio and has been preparing for it for years. 
“We haven’t seen him in one and a half years as he was busy training for the Olympics. Back home, we are performing special poojas for his victory,” says Sathish’s father Sivalingam, who works as a security officer at VIT University. Not just his family but his entire village is rooting for his victory. 
“The weightlifting clubs in our village is planning to arrange for a screening when he performs.  The timings of the events are not yet confirmed, we will plan the screenings accordingly,” he adds. Family members of 19-year-old Mohan Kumar, one of the youngest athletes representing India in the 4x400 m relay is excited for Mohan whose dream is to meet Usain Bolt. “He is such a big fan of Bolt and he hopes that he gets to meet him. There are many football fans in our locality, Ambattur, and we often screen important tournaments on the big screen. 
We plan to do so for his events too at Rio,” says D Raja, a corporation contractor, who is hopeful that his son will help India win a medal. “If that happens, the celebrations will be grand. We will light up the entire stretch and burst crackers.”
Supporters of table tennis star Sharath organised a grand event at Express Avenue before he got busy with his practice. This is his third time at the Olympics and his supporters believe the chances of him winning a medal are bright. “We organised a fashion show where Sharath walked the ramp along with some models, showcasing his jersey. 
Many from the TT fraternity were present to support him,” says Raj Kamal, Sharath’s brother, adding, “We plan to arrange for special screenings at our table tennis academy.” As far as fans are concerned, they are willing to sacrifice their sleep to watch players make India proud. “However, late it gets, I am definitely watching all the star performers,” says Sudharshan R, a sports enthusiast.

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