Paleontology: Kids Of Fishermen To Be Trained In Sailing |

Chennai: The Royal Madras Yacht Club (RMYC), one of the oldest sailing clubs in the country, is gearing up to train youngsters from the fishing community in the sport of sailing. It will not only help them win medals at national and international levels but also land jobs in the armed services.
The club will be submitting a proposal to sports minister Udhayanidhi Stalin to train 15 children from the fishing community in the city and coastal towns.
There have been multiple attempts by the government and private clubs to channel the energy of youngsters from the community towards sports, given their natural athletic abilities. Many excel in surfing, boxing, kabaddi, and football.
“They will be given training for 18 months in various aspects of sailing. We have appointed a full-time coach, Shubham Pillai, a retired sailor from the Navy who is well-versed in all types of boats,” said captain Vivek Shanbhag, honorary secretary, RMYC.
The 15 will be trained on The Optimist and Laser small, single-handed sailing dinghies, 29er and 420 double-handed sailing boats, and J 80s. “This initiative will provide them with a new perspective on the sea, the sport, and life. They will develop skills in problem-solving, teamwork, and multi-tasking,” he said.
If they win at the national level, they can land a job in the Indian Navy. “The Navy Boys Sports Company will take them under their wing and train them too,” he added.
Atulya Misra, sports secretary, Tamil Nadu, said efforts to get CRZ clearance for Sailing Academy in Chennai, and Tamil Nadu Olympic Water Sports Academy in Ramanathapuram are underway.
“Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin is monitoring the progress closely. Tamil Nadu has become a powerhouse for water sports such as sailing and surfing. The government is creating the necessary infrastructure to increase the chances of winning medals. The fishermen know the sea and will perform exceedingly well. Once they win medals, they will become a catalyst for change,” he said.
He said water sports create gender parity. “Water sports in general, and sailing and surfing in particular had an elite tag to it. Now the sport has become popular and accessible to all, including the fishermen community. This will create more champions in the sport,” he added.
A Sathish Kumar, who runs the SUP-Marina Club, and has been training youngsters from the fishing community in standup paddling, said fishermen have handled country boats and can analyse nature and wind with ease. “If given proper coaching and proper equipment, they can perform better,” he said.

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