“He was a legend. To reach the international level in the 80s when facilities here were basic is a huge achievement. Everyone is in mourning,” said Hamdan Faiz, national-level high jumper.
It was a sombre evening on Tuesday as political leaders, athletes, sports coaches, and well-wishers gathered at Mangala Stadium here to pay their last respects to Anand Shetty, a nine-time former national sprint champion. The 52-year-old was travelling with his wife and daughter, when a bus rammed into his car near Kotekar. He succumbed to injuries in the hospital. Visibly saddened Dinesh Kunder, a sports coach, said Mr. Shetty was a “natural athlete”.
Jayanth V. Shetty, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Karkala, said he “had no words” to describe Mr. Shetty’s talent and his rise from a rural background to the international level showed finesse in sprint.
Despite his sporting achievements he was a down-to-earth person, said Pushpa, a maintenance worker at Infosys where Mr. Shetty worked. U.T. Khader, State Health Minister, Yogish Bhat, former MLA, Mohan Alva, Chairman of Alvas Education Trust, athletes Thejomaya, Rohit Kumar Kateel, and Vandana Shanbhag were present.
Supreeth Raj, a national-level high jumper said: “He was to India what Usain Bolt is to Jamaica. He really set the standard for others to follow as he was unbeaten in the country for 10 years”. Mr. Shetty who was the brand ambassador of the Mangalore marathon held on February 24, was a silver medallist at the World Junior Athletics, Seoul, and a gold medallist at the South Asian Federation games, where he also set a National Record. His numerous other achievements also include the 1991 Rajyotsava award from the Karnataka State government.