No Kerala women athletes for Olympics and Shiny Wilson is disappointed
Thiruvananthapuram: No female participants from Kerala will be part of this Olympics. Since the 1980 Moscow Olympics, at least one female athlete from Kerala used to make the cut. However, PT Usha's trainee Jisna Mathew, troubled by injury and form, failed to qualify for the mixed relay team. The same could be said about Asian Games 4x400m relay gold medallist V K Vismaya, and 2019 Doha Asian Athletics Championships gold medallist P U Chithra.
In the last 40 years, 15 female athletes from Kerala had represented India in 11 consecutive Olympics. In the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics alone, Kerala athletes Anilda Thomas, Tintu Luka, Jisna Mathew and O P Jaisha represented India.
“It's so sad there are no women athletes from Kerala for this Olympics,” said Shiny Wilson, sprinter who adorned the tricolor of India in 4 successive Olympics. In a brief conversation with mathrubhumi.com, the Arjuna award winner expressed her disappointment in not witnessing a female athlete from the state. “Normally there is always a female presence in the relay team from Kerala, and it is very odd witnessing an Olympics without them,” she opened up recalling her memories alongside PT Usha, K.M Beenamol, M.D Valsamma, and others.
"I still remember the 1980 Moscow Olympics. I was an 8th-grade student. We were on holiday after the Indian hockey team won gold. Back then, we used to dream about whether we could someday be a part of the Olympics," said the Olympian who went on to represent India more than 75 times in International stages, meantime, clinching honors in a career spanning 2 decades.
However, she is hopeful about the future, and requests athletes to work hard to achieve success.
"In just 3 years, the next Olympics will be here. Other national and international competitions will also be available for them. Working hard is the only solution", she added.
With pandemic restrictions in place, athletes across the world are struggling to keep up with routine training activities.
"Pandemic had its impact on the training. Especially athletes living in the city suburbs had a tough time training considering the ongoing situation," she remarked.
From Kerala, seven athletes are traveling to Tokyo. M Sreeshankar (long jump), KT Irfan (20km race walk), MP Jabir (400m hurdles), and relay runners Noah Nirmal Tom, Amoj Jacob, and Alex Antony, and Muhammed Anas Yahiya. In total, 9 Malayalees have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
When Mathrubhumi tried to contact P T Usha for comments, she wasn't available.