Former international sprinter Anand Shetty, 49, passed away on Tuesday morning at the Kasturba Medical College and Hospital (KMC) in Mangalore. He is survived by his wife, daughter and son.

Anand, while driving with family to his in-laws’ house near Kasargod on Sunday, collided head-on with a KSRTC bus and had to be extracted from the damaged car. He was rushed to a nearby nursing home, and later to KMC where he succumbed to his injuries.

He was an outstanding athlete and carved a name for himself in the 100m and 200m sprints with his powerful running.

Anand shot to prominence after winning silver in the 200m at the World Junior Games in Seoul in 1982. He also was the 100 and 200m National champion from 1981 to 1989, a period in which he dominated the Indian sprint scene with inter-State and Open National records.

Shocked

The athletics fraternity was shocked.

“He was off the blocks like a bullet and was a powerful runner,” said C. Muralidharan, former 400m runner and Asian medallist, who shared a room with Anand and two others at Patiala during the early 80’s.

“But the most unforgettable aspect of Anand was his jovial and friendly nature. He would not allow anybody’s mood to drop and was always there to inspire and motivate others,” he added.

Uday Prabhu, former 400m National and Asian record-holder, had a long stint with Anand as a runner and they later coached together at the Bangalore Sports Club (BSC).

“He was a dedicated and determined athlete. His biggest contribution to Indian athletics was as a 100m runner and member of the 4x100m relay team in which he won gold for India at the 1989 SAF Games in Islamabad,” Prabhu said.

From Chennai, Olympian Shiny Wilson said she had always known Anand Shetty as an “ever-smiling man, friendly, but very competitive on the track.”

“We were in the Indian team for several international meets. Since he hailed from Mangalore, he had a little knowledge of Malayalam and often when he spotted me and Usha, he would come to us and try to converse.”

International athlete R. Natarajan said, “I had the privilege of being with him in the Indian team and camp for more than four years. He was a wonderful person by heart, charming, humorous, very determined, hard-working and responsible.”

When The Hindu group’s Sportstar was relaunched, Anand had graced the function at Mangalore.

More In: Other Sports | Sport