S Ilavazhagi

  • She’s the ‘Coin Queen’, Tamil Nadu gifted India with.

  • It’s said that our surroundings shape us and our talents. It’s true in the case of Ilavazhagi. She resides in North Chennai, the carrom capital of Tamil Nadu. Her father, Irudhayaraj, sells fish for a living. During her early childhood they could not afford to buy a carrom board. She aced the carrom competition at her school annual day and brought home her very own carrom board. This was the carrom board that witnessed her progress from an early age.

  • Till date, Ilavazhagi has won 3 World Championships. Her house is decked with the medals and awards she has received. The national and international recognitions she has received count up to a staggering number of 260! She is considered as the successor of Maria Irudhayam, another chess champion who is also from the same North Chennai region.

  • Ilavazhagi may not be living her lifestyle, but she does her best to keep her dream flying high. She rents a building in Vyasarpadi and trains the champions of tomorrow.

  • We have seen students from the top tier colleges settle abroad for a big fat salary. But people who use their talent to bring fame to their country are rare. Ilavazhagi is one such rare person. While competing for the World Carrom Championship which happened in France, the French Government offered her a monthly stipend of 5 lakhs, and a place to stay, in exchange for her acceptance to play for France. Ilavazhagi refused the offer and remarked that she would use her talent to bring glory to her motherland only.  

  • For most players in India, the Arjuna Award is their dream. But for Ilavazhagi, it’s her goal. Though she is more than eligible for the award, in every aspect, she is yet to hear such news of receiving the award. Along with her pursuit of excellence, Ilavazhagi keeps coaching more and more students, in the hope that at least one of her students would be a recipient of the esteemed award.