Special Correspondent

KOTTAYAM: The team competitions are over and it’s time to turn the attention to the real stars as the athletics events of the 51st Kerala School Games begin at the Nehru Stadium here on Monday.

It is from this platform that the likes of P.T. Usha, M.D. Valsamma, Shiny Wilson, Anju Bobby George, M.B. Suresh Babu and K.M. Binu, to name only a few, rose to the National-level. And the search during the next three days will be to find whether the potential talents of Kerala, still the powerhouse of Indian athletics, can match the performances of their illustrious predecessors.

Given Kerala’s strong showing in the recent National junior athletic championship in Vijayawada, a quite a few athletes would be in the reckoning to have the arc-lights firmly trained on them.

And among those expected to steal the show include the athletes from St. George HSS and Mar Basil HSS (both Kothamangalam), C. Kesavan Memorial HSS (Koruthode), A.J. Murphy HSS (Yendayar), Government HSS (Kaladi) and Government HSS (Parli), who all have been consistent performers at the school-level for the past few years.

P.T. Usha School of Athletics, representing Kozhikode district, too will be a force to reckon with, and its athletes Tintu Luka and C. Shilpa deserves mentioning.

Favourites

With St. George HSS and Mar Basil HSS, both contributing to its tally, Ernakulam is the hot favourite to retain the overall championship title. Though it may be challenged in certain select events, St. George HSS is unlikely to face any hiccups in stretching its hold over the trophy for the best school. The quality of performances will be dictated by the weather and the track-and-field conditions. The track has been neatly rolled over the past couple of weeks, but is not sure whether it will last through the hard grind on it over the next three days.

Works Minister Mons Joseph will be the chief guest for the formal inauguration of the Games, to be held on Monday morning. The organising committee has been toiling hard to make the function a memorable one. Over 1,000 children from the various schools will feature in a cultural function.

The athletics events are scheduled to commence at 8.30 a.m.

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