There are times in all of our lives where we feel a bit lost and are trying to find a purpose. And sometimes, during such introspection journeys, we discover the path we have always been looking for.
Something similar happened with Balasubramanian S (Bala), National Head – Digital at Tamil news brand Dinamalar.
Bala had this feeling that he had lost the thrill in his life and was trying to add more meaning to it. Having always been a fitness enthusiast, he had been thinking of taking up sports for a really long time. But it needed a trigger.
“In 2012, I took a full-body check up and got to know that my glucose levels were at the border and I was moving towards the pre-diabetic phase. I wanted to keep myself away from any health issues and that’s what inspired me to restart my fitness journey. It was then that I started going to the gym and started playing different sports,” says Bala, in conversation with MediaNews4u.com.
Trying his hands at various sports, Bala started participating in marathons and cycling. During the initial days, he used to run half marathons, 10K’s and cycle for almost 50 to 60 kms during weekends. But, things took a turn for him in the year 2019 when he was diagnosed with cervical spondylosis.
“I got cervical spondylosis from C2 to C6. Even doing day to day routine things got difficult. The pain in my neck, shoulder and back used to resurface again and again. It was a period of struggle for nine months. It took a while for me to identify the right treatment. The major issue I had during that time was that I was not sleeping properly. Once I rectified my sleeping pattern and started following a proper sleep cycle, I got better control of my cervical pain,” explains Bala.
With sports Physio Nandha Kumar’s able treatment, Bala got adrenaline rushes to run fast. Nandha motivated him to take up sprinting that’s when he realised his school days dream of running fast to complete with school time Athletes. An unfulfilled dream took a proper journey from December 2019.
The 47-year-old, who was born in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu and brought up in Coimbatore, landed in Chennai in 1997 to pursue his career. He has been in digital media since early 1998 and is proud to be one of the pioneers in the space from the city.
Today, he can also take pride in participating in the Chennai District Master’s Athletic Meet where he bagged third position in Javelin Throw – despite an injury. That was in January 2023. This month, his team won second place in the 4 x 100M relay in the Kolkata National Masters. (Masters events are for those over 40).
Holding a full time job at Dinamalar, Bala strives to maintain a good balance between his work, family and sports. Admittedly, it was his desire to ‘find himself’ that has made him come this far.
Bala expressed his gratitude to his wife, Dr. Srividya Govindarajan, an Assistant Professor at a women’s college in Chennai, who has always supported him in living his desired life, and to his daughter, Shri Shakthi B, to whom he dedicated this national masters silver medal.
There are several challenges one faces as an athlete, especially in older categories. In November, a calf injury prevented Bala from doing his regular ground running and he was deprived of his speed training drills. But that’s par for the course.
He looks up to coach Venkataraman of RVS Academy and credits him for his progress as an athlete. The former sprinter had won golds at the national level in school, was a Madras University record holder, had to his name All India University-level gold, and was a podium finisher in national competitions, recounts Bala. But Venkataraman’s dream of winning medals for India couldn’t go the distance. Yet he keeps running. For a decade, the coach has been the Chennai district winner in the Masters races and State Masters record holder with a time of 11.20 seconds. Now with a dream of getting an Olympic medal for India, he is training his students and Masters athletes. Bala is among the many who are waiting for him to return from his break for health reasons.
If Venkataraman is an inspiration for Bala, the latter is an inspiration for many in the advertising and media world. For what started as a journey to make oneself healthy has now turned into an inspiring tale for others.
Asked about future fitness goals, Bala says the focus will be on gaining more strength and more flexibility to compete in individual sprint events. The intent is to participate in more and more tournaments.
The sprinter shows no sign of slowing down.