Tale of sportswomen and their last names
Shiny Abraham gained national recognition as the first girl student in India who completed a lap under one minute. She was known as Shiny Abraham in 1986 when she lost her gold in 800m meters at Asian Games despite coming first as she crossed track and when she secured gold and silver medals in relay and 400 meters respectively.
She became Shiny Wilson after she married National-level swimmer Wilson Cheriyan. The sports world accepted this name wholeheartedly so much that when her father passed away the other day the news was mentioned as Shiny Wilson’s father passed away. Only those female athletes who enjoyed success after adding their husband’s name were able to give stability to their new name.
When Maya Mathews, who represented Kerala in hurdles at national events, got married, she became Maya Mathews Joseph. That’s how she was known when she became a teacher at Ernakulam St. Teresa's college.
The first Keralite woman to win a medal in National athletics was Lucy Paul, daughter of literary critic MP Paul. She became Lucy Varghese after she married Varghese Joseph. She retired from Kozhikode Physical Education College as the principal and even today this long jump athlete is known in the sports circuit as Professor Lucy Varghese.
John Selvan, who passed away recently, was a long distance runner for Railways. Padmini Thomas stood tall in sports field as Padmini Selvan after her marriage with John Selvan.
How many people remember Olympian Mercy Mathew? The first woman to jump more than six meters in Long Jump became Mercy Mathew Kuttan after her marriage. She married National athlete Muralikuttan.
Reeth Devaiyya, originally from Coorg, is the wife of Sunil Abraham, who is another national sportsman. She won many international victories after she became Reeth Abraham.
Olympian and table tennis player Ambika Radhika will be remembered as Radhika Suresh by the future generations. She married CK Suresh.
Indian Volleyball player Salomi Xavier became Salomi Ramu after she married Andhra native Ramu.
When long jump athlete Anju Marcose married Robert Bobby George, she became Anju Bobby George and went on to conquer feats that were achieved by no other Indian. Robert was also Anju's coach. They later went on to collect Khel Ratna award and Dronachariya awards respectively.
The first Keralite woman to win Arjuna award and the second Indian to do so, KC Elsamma, changed her name to Elsamma Raghu. However, she is still known as KC Elsamma in the sports circle.
Volleyball player and Andhra native Radhika Ravi did not change her name after she married another Volleyball player Kapil Dev. They have both represented India.
International Basketball player Geethu Anna Jose became Geethu Anna Rahul after her marriage. Asian Games medal winner K Saramma married athlete Jocy Mathew and changed her name to Saramma Jocy. However, their new names are limited to their Facebook accounts.
For the media they are still Geethu Anna Jose and K Saramma. Those sportswomen who leave the field after marriage or are unable to continue their elite performances will be remembered by their former names.