At the recent National schools swimming championship in Panjim, Kerala's greatest medal hope was V. Turbu. And he didn't disappoint.
Turbu struck gold in all his three individual events; he also set a new meet record in 100m backstroke, his pet event. His other gold medals were in the 50m and 200m backstroke.
“I had wanted to create a new record in the 100m and I am glad that I could do it,” says Turbu, a Plus Two student at GHSS, Kalamassery. “I could perform well in Goa because the weather was so nice there. The weather was horrible in Ranchi though, for the senior Nationals, which followed the Schools meet. Though I did record a good timing in the men's 100m backstroke there, I feel I could have done better if it hadn't been so cold in Ranchi.”
S. Unnikrishnan Nair, who has been coaching Turbu for the last five years, believes it is only a matter of time before he starts winning medals at the senior Nationals.
“I expect him to win at the Nationals within two years,” says the coach. “He is the most promising swimmer to emerge from Kerala for quite some time. He has been winning medals consistently, at all age-group competitions.”
Turbu has been amongst the medals for the last seven years. “I must have won more than 200 medals, at District, State, National and International level over the last seven years,” says the 17-year-old. “Among those medals, it is the sliver (100m backstroke) and bronze (50m backstroke) I won at the South Asian Federation junior swimming meet in Islamabad that I cherish most.”
He says competing in the World Schools meet in Doha was also memorable. “It was great swimming with the best swimmers of the world in my age-group,” he says.
It was from his father Harish Chandran, who was a swimmer with the Indian Air Force, that he learnt the basics of swimming, while growing up at Pattambi, Palakkad. For the last four years he has been training at Rajagiri Swimming Academy in Kochi, which has also been sponsoring him.
“We realised that the boy had great potential and brought him to our academy,” says Unnikrishnan. “He has a bright future in swimming, no doubt. He knows how and when to peak while competing. And that is the quality of a true champion and performer.”