Chennai First a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Chennai, Tamilians and all the People of TamilNadu – here at Home and Overseas
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    Chennai :

    Chennai Rail Museum opened a a new gallery on Sunday. Hydari Gallery is named for a former general manager of  Integral Coach Factory (ICF) .

    Chennai Rail Museum opens new gallery showcasing glorious heritage of Indian Rail

    source: http://www.youtube.com / The Times of India

    The gallery showcases rail heritage photos, scale models and three tier running models of different coaches. Referring to former ICF chief I Hydari as a “combination of technical competence and great leadership”, a senior ICF official spoke about his valuable contribution to the development of Indian Railways.

    “I think this museum is informative and the work is absolutely amazing. There is so much of information since the inception of railways and it is remarkable,” said Urmila Satyanarayana .

    The exhibits and photos tells the story of railways and its contribution to the growth in trade and transport. There were talks on the railway line built on Bhor Ghat in the early 1860s connecting Mumbai and Deccan Plateau in an attempt to make cotton transport easier.

    Bharathanatyam exponent Urmila Satyanarayana and director of Art World Sarala Banerjee inaugurated the gallery. ICF general manager S Mani was also present.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / TNN / July 10th, 2017

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    Left Manoj Kumar, director, Department of Technical Training & Education (DTTE), center Harsha Prabakaran, right Sumir Kumar Jha

    Left Manoj Kumar, director, Department of Technical Training & Education (DTTE), center Harsha Prabakaran, right Sumir Kumar Jha

    Chennai :

    Chennai-based student Harsha Prabakaran has got an opportunity to represent India in the electronics category at Worldskills 2017, more popularly known as “Skill Olympics .”

    Worldskills 2017 will take place in Abu Dhabi in October. It will see participation from over 77 countries across the globe in 50 different skills.

    The runner-up in the selection is Sumir Kumar Jha from Delhi.

    Prabakaran is an electronics engineer from the Chennai Institute Of Technology.

    The four-day pre-selection for the championship was organised by Electronics Sector Skill Council of India (ESSCI), Emtech Foundation and Delhi Technological University, New Delhi.

    The two contenders had to prove their mettle over a 17-hour task, which included schematic design, PCB design, embedded system programming, fault finding, repair and measurement.

    The ceremony for felicitating the winners saw participation of Manoj Kumar, director, Department of Technical Training & Education (DTTE) , S K Garg, pro-vice Chancellor, DTU, N K Mohapatra, CEO-ESSCI, Yogender Pal Singh, electronics expert and Naveen Kumar, technical consultant, ESSCI.

    Before the final event, Prabhakaran will undergo training at international electronics manufacturing firms to meet Skill Olympics’ standards

    Prabhakaran will meet PM Narendera Modi on July 15 before the final event.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> City News> Chennai News / by Rachel Chitra / TNN / July 04th, 2017

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    June 20th, 2017adminAmazing Feats, Education, Records, All

    firstwomanengineerCF20jun2017

    When Dr Shantha Mohan, who is writing a book on the women graduates of the College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), contacted me recently, seeking more information on May George (Miscellany, February 3, 2014 ), I got more information from her than I could give. I’d always thought that the College had admitted only two women students, its first, in 1940, but I learnt from her that three had been admitted. They were PK Thresia, Leelamma George and A Lalitha, all receiving their degrees in 1943 with the certificate having ‘He’ struck out and replaced with a handwritten ‘She’.

    A history of the College brought out by it in 1991 curiously states that the first women students were only two and one got her degree in Electrical Engineering, the other in Civil. Shantha Mohan provides me a wealth of detail about the Electrical Engineering student, Lalitha, so it must be presumed that the other two she mentions did Civil Engineering.

    Lalitha, married at 15, was 18 when she had her daughter. A few months later, in 1937, her husband passed away. Determined not to stay at home and mourn or to remarry, she decided to take up a professional course. Lalitha applied to CEG in 1939, an all-male institution at the time.

    It was her good fortune that her father, Pappu Subba Rao, was Professor of Electrical Engineering there and he persuaded Principal KC Chacko (the first Principal with a Doctorate) and Director of Public Instruction RM Statham, who was all for women’s education (Miscellany, August 24, 2015) that it was time the College admitted women students — and Lalitha became CEG’s first woman student, a widow and a mother at that. With the gates opened, Thresia and Leelamma followed her in. Lalitha stayed on a year after they left to get her Honours degree.

    firstwomanengineer02CF20jun2017

    After a stint with the Central Standards Organisation in Simla, Lalitha spent a few years with her father, helping him with his research. He patented a Jelectromonium (an electrical musical instrument), smokeless ovens and an electric flame producer. But the need to make a living on her own beckoned, and she joined Associated Electrical Industries, a British firm.

    She then began designing transmission lines, doing substation layouts and executing contracts. She was noteworthily associated with the work on electrical generators for the Bhakra Nangal Dam.

    After 30 years with AEL, including the time after it had been taken over by General Electric, Lalitha retired, much of the last years of her working life focused on supervising contract projects. She was the only woman engineer from India to attend the First International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists which was held in New York in 1964. Thereafter, she was active in international women’s engineering organisations internationally till she passed away in 1979.

    She had once said, “Electrical Engineering runs in my blood. My father, four brothers, nephew and son-in-law are all Electrical Engineers.”

    Shantha Mohan adds a request to all this information: “If you have information about women engineers from CEG from the 1940s to the 1960s, please let me know at shantha.rm@gmail.com.”

    The Philippines connection

    Many moons ago, on December 22, 2014, I had written about Tambaram railwayman Noel Fuller’s search for roots. At that time he had discovered that his great grandfather, Albert James Fuller of Madurai, had married Ellen Matilda Narcis, really a Narcisonian and an Armenian. Her line Noel traced back to Coja Sultan David who arrived in Madras from Isfahan in Persia around the 1720s.

    Coja Sultan David became a leader of the Armenian community in Madras and his son, Aga Shawmier Sultan, was the owner of that ‘Great House in Charles Street’ in the Fort known as Admiralty, or Clive House. Noel’s search for his Armenian ancestors’ tombstones led him to that of the wife of Coja Sultan David which he found on St Thomas’ Mount. The Aga Shawmier Sultans, husband and wife, are buried in the yard of the Armenian Church in Madras, a church raised on the site of the Shawmier chapel which the family gifted to the community. All Noel could discover at that time was that Coja Sultan David had died in Pondicherry in 1754 and had converted to Roman Catholicism just before he passed away so that he could be buried in consecrated ground, the Armenians having no church of their own in Pondicherry.

    Pondicherry yielded him no tombstones, but the information that after the English had taken the city in 1761 they had ravaged it, reducing even tombstones to rubble. The story then goes that in 1765, when the East Indiaman Earl Temple was to sail for Manila, it needed ballast and the rubble of Pondicherry was loaded on it. In the South China Sea, the ship hit a reef and sank. Salvagers in 1997 found in it, intact, the 1,335 kilogram tombstone of Coja Sultan David. There’s a missing link here, but the tombstone, its engraving still clear, is now in the Philippines, an exhibit in the Manila Museum.

    Wrong again

    My computer help once again sent out the wrong picture and, so, last week we had, with Subedar Subramanian, Brigadier K Sampath, one of the speakers, instead of the Subedar’s son Durailingam as mentioned. My apologies to Brig Sampath and Durailingam.

    The chronicler of Madras that is Chennai tells stories of people, places, and events from the years gone by, and sometimes, from today.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Madras Miscellany> Society / by S. Muthiah / June 19th, 2017

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    May 31st, 2017adminEducation, Records, All

    Aakashcf31MAY2017

    Chennai :

    Aakash Jajoo, from Thiruvanmyur’s Shishya School stood first in Tamil Nadu in the ICSE Class X board exam, results for which were declared on Monday.

    The Council for The Indian School Certificate Examination announced the Class XII (ISC) results as well. While the pass percentage in Tamil Nadu for ICSE was 99.72 per cent, for ISC it was 99.34 per cent. There were three toppers in ICSE from Tamil Nadu of which one was from Chennai and two others from Vellore. ICS had four toppers from the State, all of whom were from Chennai.

    Jajoo scored 493 out of 500. He scored 94 in English, 94 in Hindi and 99 in History, Civics and Geography and 100 in Maths, 100 in Science and 100 in Computer Application. “I spent four to five hours in studies every day. I want to take up science in Class XI and XII. I have not thought of as of now what I want to pursue after XII. I received lot of support from my teachers for which I am grateful,” he said.

    His mother said he was very consistent in studies. “He had a planned schedule. He’d solve sample papers every day for two hours. Besides, he would focus on sports like tennis, badminton and cricket. He also spent time on drama, debate and dancing and would also watch television,” she said.

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by Express News Service / May 30th, 2017

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    Dharshana (PTI Photo)

    Dharshana (PTI Photo)

    Krishnagiri :

    The nation was busy celebrating toppers who scored over 99 per cent in the CBSE Class XII exams, and Dharshana’s journey to scoring 96.6 per cent got less attention than it deserved. But her story is worth telling, for she overcame a different set of challenges on her way to success.

    A student of Nalanda International Public Sc­­h­o­ol in Krishnagiri, Dharshana, who has only parti­al vision, came third in the persons-with-disabilities cate­g­ory of CBSE exams, scoring 483 marks out of 500. Dharshana has no vision in her left eye and partial v­ision in the right. “She worked really hard right, but we did not ex­pect her to grab the third position,” says her father R Mohan, a businessman. “Her hard work to­ok her to this position. Dhars­h­ana wrote the exam herself, wi­th additional time of one ho­ur.”

    Parents of children with disabilities should spend more time with them, says Mohan. His wife Vijayalaskhmi is a stay-at-home mother and Dharshana is the second of their two daughters. “They expect this because they do not have many friends. So parents have to step up and spend time with them, be their friends, their guide… and they definitely will achieve their goals.”

    “I want to become an entrepreneur,” says Dharshana, thanking her parents, friends and teachers who were happy to hear about her achievement. “I want to study BCom. My father is a businessman and so I naturally like business,” she says.

    How the students fared
    Overall Pass Percentage
    2016: 83.05%
    2017: 82.02%

    Region-wise pass percentage
    95.62% Trivandrum
    92.6% Chennai
    88.37% Delhi

    Gender-wise pass percentage
    87.5% -Girls

    78% – Boys

    63,247 students scored above 90%
    10,091 students scored above 95%

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by M. Sabari / Express News Service / May 29th, 2017

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    Chennai:

    Industrialist and philanthropist P R Ramasubrahmaneya Rajha, chairman of  Ramco Group of Companies, died in Rajapalayam after a brief illness. He was 82.

    He leaves behind his wife Sudarsanam, son P R Venketrama Raja, daughters Nalina, Sarada Deepa and five grandchildren.

    Popularly known as the Raja of Rajapalayam, Rajha donned the Ramco chairman’s robe when he was just 27 years old, with just two businesses– Rajapalayam Mills (a textile mill) and Madras Cements (now Ramco Cements) with a single plant capacity of 66,000 tonnes a year.

    Today, the group has businesses spanning across, cement, textiles, software and roofing sheets with annual revenues of more than Rs 6,000 crore. The flagship, Ramco Cements, has a capacity to make 18 million tonnes of cement a year, cumulatively the textile business has 5 lakh spindles capacity, Ramco Industries has a roofing capacity of one million tonnes a year and Ramco Systems is also on a strong footing after stuttering for some time.

    “In the passing of Rajha, the cement industry has lost a stalwart. I have known him for more than four decades. He was one of the first in the industry to put up a dry process cement plant. A pious, religious person, he had a quiet and sober leadership style. All of us will miss him,” said India Cements vice chairman & managing director N Srinivasan.

    The group supports eight educational institutions in Rajapalayam including Ramco Institute of Technology.

    “He was one of the outstanding leaders known for his vision, values and philanthropy. His death is a great loss to Tamil Nadu and the country,” recalled TVS Motor Company chairman Venu Srinivasan.

    Rajha was deeply associated with temples and donated liberally to building new ones and renovating dilapidated temples.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / TNN / May 12th, 2017

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    Honoured Dr Vikram Singh's work has been recognised with the BIRAC Gandhian Young Technological Innovation award.

    Honoured Dr Vikram Singh’s work has been recognised with the BIRAC Gandhian Young Technological Innovation award.

    This could be used in applications such as tunable laser, LEDs and white light display

    Dr. Vikram Singh, former research scholar in the Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras won the BIRAC Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Award 2017 for his work on producing white light emission using natural extracts.

    Dr. Singh and Prof. Ashok Mishra from the Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras used a mixture of two natural extracts — red pomegranate and turmeric — to produce white light emission. The researchers used a simple and environment-friendly procedure to extract dyes from pomegranate and turmeric.

    While polyphenols and anthocyanins present in red pomegranate emit at blue and orange-red regions of the wavelength respectively, curcumin from turmeric emit at the green region of the wavelength. White light emission is produced when red, blue and green mix together. This is probably the first time white light emission has been generated using low-cost, edible natural dyes. The results were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

    “We had to mix the two extracts in a particular ratio to get white light,” says Dr. Singh, the first author of the paper; he is currently at Lucknow’s CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI). By changing the concentration of the two extracts the researchers were able to get different colour temperature (tunability).

    “When we mix the two extracts and irradiate it with UV radiation at 380 nm, we observed energy transfer (FRET mechanism) taking place from polyphenols to curcumin to anthocyanins, which helps to get perfect white light emission,” says Dr. Singh. For FRET mechanism to take place there must be spectral overlap between the donor and acceptor.

    Energy transfer

    In this case, there is a perfect overlap of emission of polyphenols with absorption by curcumin so the energy from polyphenols is transferred to curcumin. Since there is also a perfect overlap of emission of curcumin with absorption by anthocyanin, the energy of curcumin is transferred to anthocyanin.

    As a result of this energy transfer from one dye to the other, when the extract is irradiated with UV light at 380 nm (blue region of the wavelength), the polyphenols emit in the blue region of the wavelength and transfers its energy to curcumin. The excited curcumin emits in the green region of the wavelength and transfers its energy to anthocyanin, which emits light in the red region of the wavelength.

    “Because of the energy transfer, even if you excite in the blue wavelength we were able to get appropriate intensity distribution across the visual wavelength,” says Prof. Mishra, who is the corresponding author of the paper.

    Without turmeric

    Taking the work further, the duo produced carbon nanoparticles using pomegranate and to their surprise it was producing fairly green emission. So instead of using turmeric to get green wavelength, the researchers used carbon nanoparticles made from pomegranate extract. “We could get white emission, though it is not as white as when we use turmeric. It’s slightly bluish but well within the white zone,” says Prof. Mishra. “It is an attractive to use a single plant source to create white light emission.” The principle by which the pomegranate extract and carbon nanoparticles made from the extract is the same as in the case when pomegranate and turmeric extracts were used. The results were published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry C.

    Though this natural mixture of dyes can be used in a wide variety of applications such as tunable laser, LEDs, white light display, much work needs to be done in terms of photostability and chemical stability before it becomes ready for translation. Biosystems have an inherent tendency to breakdown and so this has to be addressed.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sci-Tech> Science / by R. Prasad / May 06th, 2017

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    Virudhunagar Collector A. Sivagnanam and music composer Ilayaraja at the branch library at Tiruchuli.

    Virudhunagar Collector A. Sivagnanam and music composer Ilayaraja at the branch library at Tiruchuli.

    Education was important to create a knowledge-based society, says the music maestro

    A new branch library building, sponsored by Sri Ramanasramam in Tiruvannamalai, was dedicated at Tiruchuli on Tuesday.

    Music maestro Ilayaraja and Collector A. Sivagnanam lit the traditional lamp to mark the inauguration of the building constructed at a cost of ₹41 lakh.

    Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ilayaraja said education was important to create a knowledge-based society. Libraries were the kind of institutions meant for continuous education of the masses, he said, adding children from rural areas should come forward to make the best use of the variety of books available in the library.

    They should become top civil servants, scholars and scientists to serve the nation, he said.

    District Library Officer S. Jegadeesan said various e-resources links would be made available in the library, established in two floors with computer and internet facilities, for the students to prepare for various courses and competitive examinations.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Tamil Nadu / by / Special Correspondent / Aruppukottai – May 02nd, 2017

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    That was a question I was recently asked in connection with a reference I had made to Umda Bagh and its links with education in the city for nearly 125 years. Good question, and off I went ahunting for information.

    Into the Umda Bagh campus moved c.1895 the Madrasa-I-Azam, the chief Muslim school in the South and which was established in 1849. This developed partially into a Government Muhammadan College with its own buildings in 1934.

    In 1948, the College was reconstituted as the Government Arts College for Men. The College moved to Nandanam in 1972 and a women’s college opened in its stead in 1974. This was named the Quaid-E-Millat Government College for Women, leaving many a student puzzling over the prefixed name, which I’m told means ‘Leader of the Nation’.

    A Tirunelveli Rowther, Mohammed Ismail went into business in the 1920s and became a leader in the worlds of leather and Madras commerce. That leadership led him into politics, in which he had shown interest from when, as a 13-year-old, he started in 1909 the Young Muslim Society in Tirunelveli.

    Nine years later, he founded the Council of Islamic Scholars and joined the Indian Muslim League. In 1946, he led the League’s Madras unit in the Assembly elections and became Leader of the Opposition. He was also elected to the first Lok Sabha, which simultaneously served as the Indian Constituent Assembly. And, an intriguing election that year was as the founding President of the Madras State Mutton Dealers’ Association, which he remained till his death 26 years later.

    When Pakistan was born in 1947, the Muslim League divided and an Indian Union Muslim League came into being. Mohammed Ismail was elected its first President. After serving in the Rajya Sabha from 1952 to 1958, he moved into Kerala politics with States’ Reorganisation in 1956. Leading the IUML, he won Lok Sabha seats in 1962, 1967 and 1971. He died a year after his last election, revered in both Tamil Nadu and Kerala as the Quaid-E-Millat, a leader who ensured communal harmony. Interestingly, his education had been in Hindu, Catholic and Protestant schools and colleges!

    Perhaps the greatest tribute paid to him was by Congress Chief Minister M Bhaktavatsalam who, describing his dignified and conciliatory behaviour in the Legislature, said he was “a model for all Opposition leaders”.

    ————–

    When the postman knocked…

    V Mahalingam writes (Miscellany, April 17): “N Kannayiram went to the West Indies as a replacement for G Kasturirangan of Mysore who cried off because of groin injury and not as replacement for CD Gopinath.

    Also CDG didn’t opt out as he was not happy with the cricket board’s ways. He pulled out as he was suffering from collar bone injuries and he was replaced by L Adisesh of Mysore who also pulled out. Totally there were four replacements before the tour.”

    With this column’s word length now abbreviated, I don’t have the luxury of elaboration. But even then, there was no reason to link two entirely different sentences about Kannayiram and Gopinath except for the fact that they were adjacent to each other. Juxtaposition is not the equivalent of replacement! More interesting is my correspondent saying it was “collarbone injuries” that made Gopinath skip the tour.

    Reporting a long interview with Gopinath for the book Office Chai, Planter’s Brew — Gopinath approving every word of the final text — this writer stated: “(In 1952) Gopinath, being South Indian, was ‘rather strangely called Madrasi in a rather contemptuous way’ by other members of the team. This was an era when cricket essentially meant Bombay — and in Gopinath’s words, ‘…it was almost as if, if you came from Madras, you had no business to play cricket…’ He goes on that around then Gordon Woodroffe’s offered him a job — it was a time when the first Indians were being recruited by British firms — and he was mulling over it because he felt the remuneration was inadequate given his academic and sporting record.

    But his father, an old Imperial Bank hand, pointed out he’d get fair treatment in a British firm and could go far (he did; he became its first Indian Chairman). The interview then records, “Musing on the advice and his issues with (Indian) cricket, Gopinath decided to refuse the West Indian tour.” No mention of collar bone injuries anywhere.

    Subash Chandra Bose at the Tea hosted for him at the Beehive Foundry, Madras on September 3,1939. To his right is K S Rao, owner of the Beehive Group, and third from right (seated) a mystery man only recently identified by the owner of this picture. Standing is C. Audikesavalu Chettiar, Rao’s partner.

    Subash Chandra Bose at the Tea hosted for him at the Beehive Foundry, Madras on September 3,1939. To his right is K S Rao, owner of the Beehive Group, and third from right (seated) a mystery man only recently identified by the owner of this picture. Standing is C. Audikesavalu Chettiar, Rao’s partner.

    Ramesh Kumar, who’s kept the Beehive Foundry name going in its original Oakes & Co. premises on Popham’s Broadway (Miscellany, June 2, 2014), now Prakasam Salai, sends me today’s picture of yesteryear. It’s of Subhas Chandra Bose being hosted at tea at the Beehive premises on September 3, 1939. With him are Kowtha Suryanarayana Rao, the founder of the group that owns the premises, and his partner C Audikesavalu Chettiar, Ramesh Kumar’s grandfather. To Rao’s right is a person whom I wonder how many recognise, despite his being a well-known name in Tamil Nadu. He is Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar.

    Rao founded the Swadharma Swaarajya Sangh (Orthodox National League) in 1913 for the “revival of the declining spiritual and cultural values of Bharateeya life, dharma and religion”, I wonder how much Bose or Thevar had in common with it? I also wonder, given the date of the felicitation, whether Bose fled to Germany from Madras; that was the day India was dragged into a World War.

    The chronicler of Madras that is Chennai tells stories of people, places and events from the years gone by and, sometimes, from today

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Society> History & Culture / Madras Miscellany / by S. Muthiah / May 01st, 2017

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    April 27th, 2017adminEducation, Records, All, Sports
    S Shrikrishna at a billiards tournament

    S Shrikrishna at a billiards tournament

    Chennai :

    I don’t have fear in my game,” proclaims S Shrikrishna. While this may seem a tad arrogant at first, he explains that it’s just a mantra he follows. “Both my father and coach once told me a line: ‘Don’t fear your opponent, make him fear you’. And that’s exactly what I try to do in every match; it has helped me succeed,” adds the Chennai lad.

    For those wondering, Shrikrishna is the National Junior Billiards champion. His next outing will be the ongoing 12th R Murugesh & Chintamani Memorial all-India Open Snooker Tournament in Erode.

    True to his word, the 17-year-old is not worried about things like his national champion status or the fact that he will be a home favourite in the upcoming tournament. “I don’t let such things bother me. This is the second time I’ll be participating in the Erode event and I know what I’m capable of. My focus is to improve match after match and not worry about what the opponent thinks of me or what strategy they will employ,” says Shrikrishna.

    His initiation into cue sports was when as a 10-year-old he witnessed his parents take to the green table at the Mylapore Club. But what happened after is more interesting. “When I saw my parents play, I knew I wanted to give it a try as well. But at that time the rules said that children below 12 aren’t allowed to play. My father then took the issue to the manager, who allowed me to play a few shots. That is when he realised I was good at it. They changed the rules immediately after,” says Shrikrishna who is a Class 11 student at National Public School, Gopalapuram.

    He performed consistently well, even entering competitions soon enough. “I joined my coach, Nadeem Ahmed at the Tamil Nadu Billiards & Snooker Association (TNBSA) premises soon after the Mylapore Club episode. Unlike others, I started competing a couple months after picking up the stick for the first time. It was only due to the support of my coach and father that this was possible,” he adds.

    Shrikrishna is entering a crucial phase in life; he is going to appear for the Class 12 exams next year. But Shrikrishna has it all figured out. “I can’t take a chance with my boards. The nationals will be next January, and that will be the last event I will participate in before the exam.”

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Chennai / by Ravi Iyer / Express News Service / April 27th, 2017

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