Family affected by south TN floods, misses Lakshmanan’s home debut- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

CHENNAI: There were chants of Masanamuthu Lakshmanan when he walked into the stadium for his first Pro Kabaddi League match in the city on Friday night. For the young raider from Tamil Nadu, playing in front of his home crowd was a momentous occasion. He still remembers the day when he first came to the coaching centre at the Sports Authority of India in Chennai. No one knew him then.

Yet the moment of joy was not complete. He did not have his family or friends from his town in the stands. They were still stuck in the floods in Muthiahpuram, Thoothukudi. 

“It would have been a dream debut at home for me if my family and friends were there,” said Lakshmanan, who plays for Tamil Thalaivas. The floods have been cruel and like most of the villages in Thoothukudi, his house too was damaged. His certificates were washed away in the flood waters. Though Lakshmanan was down hearing the ordeals of his family and friends, that did not deter him from playing. 

The young raider said his mother called him during floods and cried but motivated him to play, like the way she has been doing always. “My friends and family have always been encouraging,” said Lakshmanan, who continued raiding the opposition despite such hardships at home. Even now, he cannot go home because of his professional commitments. 

This is not the first time he had to overcome obstacles. In 2020, he battled a severe shoulder injury. That setback had battered his confidence then. Yet his will to not give up helped him overcome the lean patch and eventually get drafted in PKL. “It was a tough time for me when people started saying that my career in sports was over. That was a depressing time but I was never ready to give up,” Lakshmanan said about his tough times. 

Tracing his journey in the sport, he said he was inspired by kabaddi players in his locality — Muniyasamy Temple Street. “All the people in my hometown love kabaddi and most of them play well too. I came to this sport at the age of 11. One of my brothers, Manikandan, asked me to join them while they were playing kabaddi,” he said. With Tamil Thalaivas having a torrid run at the moment, Lakshmanan is focussed on lifting his side in the 12-team league.

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