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Monday, Oct 18, 2021
Outlook.com

Olympian Heights... At Sea Level

The coach has nurtured champions. His centre still houses aspiring ambitions at a nominal cost.

Olympian Heights... At Sea Level
Olympian Heights... At Sea Level
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Anju Bobby George is busy striving to breach her 7-meter barrier in the race for the world long jump title. Yet, occasionally, memory leaps backward as she recalls with gratitude her first coach, K.P. Thomas. This retired havildar has probably done more for Indian athletics than we know. Outlook caught up with him at Koruthode village near Mundakkayam in the Kottayam district of Kerala. It’s raining and the school ground is slushy on a Saturday evening. Braving the rain are 50-odd athletes, with Thomas Master, their coach.

The Master, aged 61, has been mentor to many of Kerala’s star athletes. Not just Anju Bobby George, he also spotted the likes of Shiny Wilson and Jincy Philip—all Olympians. Despite having nurtured such talent, Thomas is a picture of humility and goes about his job with remarkable perseverance. The veteran coach simply refuses to hang up his boots. Even now, he has more than 100 athletes, some of them just past kindergarten, under his expert care—all eyes set on international competitions.

After his retirement from the army,...
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