Arjuna recommendation a dream come true for Amalraj

For the National champion of  2012 and 2016, the long wait for the prestigious award ended with a call from the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) secretary M. P. Singh on Thursday afternoon.

Amalraj: 'Last year, I was heart-broken after I was not chosen for the award. But I kept my faith in God.'   -  G. Ramakrishna

As a child, growing up in Chennai, Anthony Amalraj saw players like G. Jagannath, V. Chandrashekhar and S. Raman who came to witness the state table tennis championship. His father told him, “Look at them. They are National champions who have received Arjuna Award from the Government.”

This made a small-made Amalraj dream big. He wondered how it would be to be known a National champion and receive the Arjuna Award. And he started chasing his dream.

What followed was a long, tough journey. As a 10-year-old, he got a chance to join the Petroleum Academy at Ajmer. Twenty years later, on this day, Amalraj moved closer to emulating the greats of the game from his home city.

For the National champion of  2012 and 2016, the long wait for the Arjuna Award ended with a call from the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) secretary M. P. Singh on Thursday afternoon.

“The call woke me up from my sleep. I could not believe my ears when
M. P. Sir said the Arjuna Award Committee members had recommended my name for the award this year. It will be final once Sports Minister Vijay Goel signs the list of names recommended,” shared a joyous Amalraj.

“Last year, I was heart-broken after I was not chosen for the award. But I kept my faith in God. I continued working hard and got some good results in the international events. Today, I am very, very happy for the joy God has given me, my family and to all those who believed I deserved the award.”

He was quick to acknowledge the support and sacrifice of his family members. “My sister performed all the family duties and responsibilities that I should have shouldered as a son. My family wanted me to concentrate on my game and achieve greater heights. Today, my family feels it was all worth it.”

He expressed his gratitude to the members of the TTFI, his employers, ONGC and all the coaches for their support. “At one point, I thought I had run out of time for the Arjuna Award. But after the recommendation, I feel rejuvenated. I feel inspired.”