Street Football Festival 2018

Freestyle football is the art of self-expression with a football while performing various tricks with any part of the body. [WIKIPEDIA]

Select images from a freestyle football competition held recently at Decathlon, Chennai.

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Pradeep Ramesh: ‘How would I like to be remembered? As a motivational figure who proved that anything is possible’

 

 

 

Born in Chennai, Pradeep Ramesh, 27, is a professional freestyle footballer who also happens to have broken two Guinness World Records in the past eight months. As a matter of fact, his second official Guinness World Records certificate arrived just last week – he broke the previous record for most football touches with the shin in a minute by achieving it 238 times in the allotted time. When he’s not busy shattering world records at whim (he is gearing up for his third Guinness Record attempt as you are reading this), Pradeep can either be seen teaching budding freestylers this evolving art/sport or mesmerising audiences all over India with his brand of kick-ass freestyling.

When were you happiest? I can’t pinpoint one particular instance but if I’ve given my best for the day, I’m really happy that particular day.

What is your greatest fear? Whenever I see a grey strand in my beard, I get scared.

Which living person do you most admire, and why? I admire both my mum and wife and for the same reason – I don’t think there is anybody in this world who works harder than a mother especially Indian mothers. They have so much work and yet maintain a positive attitude every single day. The house will be in shambles without them.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Let’s say I wake up feeling low tomorrow, I’d just shut myself off and end up doing nothing the whole day.

What was your most embarrassing moment? When I’m visiting my relatives or meeting someone new, explaining what I do for a living is downright embarrassing. This occurs at least once every week.  

What is your most treasured possession? My wife.

What would your super power be? The ability to read others’ minds.

What makes you unhappy? If I’ve not given my all in an endeavour, then I get unhappy.

What is your most unappealing habit? I’m addicted to coffee. 

What is your least favourite word? Extra cheese.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? When I was in sixth grade, I wanted to join the Army. I took the National Defence Academy (NDA) entrance exam in tenth but didn’t make the cut as I flunked the maths paper by 10 marks.

What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you? This one guy on social media commented – ‘Is this record official [referring to my first Guinness World Records attempt video I put up on my Youtube channel]?’ I didn’t respond. After a while, he’s like, ‘Show me your certificate.’ He was getting on my nerves so I blocked him but that didn’t stop him from going on an epic rant on FB dissing me and my claim of being a world record holder.

What is on top of your bucket list? Winning the World Freestyle Football Championship.

What is your guiltiest pleasure? Filter coffee.

What is the greatest love of your life? Football.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Ready, rolling.” (A phrase Pradeep often says when shooting videos for his vlog.)

What is the worst job you’ve done? A wedding gig in Agra where I had to freestyle in front of the bride and groom entourage as they were being led up to the dais.

If you could edit your past, what would you change? Nothing.

How do you relax? With a cup of coffee or just chilling at the beach.

What keeps you awake at night? Hopelessness.

How would you like to be remembered? As a motivational figure who proved that anything is possible.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you? Sometimes, hard work doesn’t pay dividends. 

Tell us a secret. My wife snubbed me in high school when I proposed to her.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life? Money.

 

See more of Pradeep Ramesh here: Youtube, Instagram

 

*Inspired by The Guardian’s The Q&A

Carpe Diem

Had five-time World Amateur Boxing Champion Mary Kom been present at Chennai’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium earlier this month, I bet a strong proponent of the sport such as herself would have shed tears of joy—and by the buckets.

The turnout at the Tamil Nadu State Sub Junior Boxing Championships was so immense that the small room that housed the ring resembled the Chennai Central to a T; incidentally, located just a stone’s throw away.

There, the usual noise that follows children wherever they gather was not to be. During the bouts, a certain silence ruled the atmosphere—only to be suspended by the heckles of a worked up coach and occasional bursts of cheers.

Some still accompanied by their moms, the budding combatants put on their game face, and looked their menacing best in their shimmering boxing gear. Albeit little, these feisty pugilists left no stone unturned in making their presence felt inside the twenty square foot modern-era Coliseum. But at the end of the day, there could be only one winner.

When the final bell is rung, heartbreak was written on the faces of many a child who had failed in their bid for glory. This, while a resolve to bounce back even stronger rumbles deep inside.

Walking towards Hope

You have to give Sriram props for his indomitable spirit. For someone who could barely stand, walking was a distant dream. But the presence of a great support system has worked wonders for this 22-year-old…

For the last 20-plus years, Dr Paul Devasagayam has been championing the development of disabled sports in Tamil Nadu. His efforts have brought about a sea change in parental attitudes towards sports and transformed many a life in the process.

Find out more about the two of them here

 

When Passion Calls

In this day and age where a person’s success is measured by his bank balance, one can’t help but admire Giridhar’s resolve to invest all his time and energy into his lifelong passion: distance running. Giridhar “Giri” Balasubramanian, who’s been running full-time for more than a year now, broke his 10K PR recently. He is all set to take on bigger athletes at one of India’s biggest races, the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, in November.

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