Carving a niche

EVER CHARMING Shiny Wilson Photo: R.M.Rajarathinam

EVER CHARMING Shiny Wilson Photo: R.M.Rajarathinam  

Shiny's aura still remains

Only few sportspersons, other than cricketers, have managed to carve an identity for themselves in this cricket-mad nation. But not before producing some inspiring tales of gallantry. Shiny Wilson is one such who could truly lay claim to an exalted position in Indian sports. One only has to look back at her exploits in 1986 Seoul Asian Games, where she won the 400m silver medal. She actually achieved lot more than that. The day before her silver medal winning performance, she was denied gold in the 800 m after crossing the track, although her move didn't disturb other runners. Such is the determination with which she performed, no wonder awards and recognition came her way.

First Indian woman

She was the first Indian woman to reach the semi-final at Olympics in the track event, doing so at the 800m in Los Angeles in 1984. Like P.T.Usha, she also proved that humble beginnings are no handicap for making it big in the international scene. Thodupuzha, a small village in Kerala is the place from where Shiny's career began."Those who aspire to do well at the international arena must work hard, persevere and be focused even during difficult times," says Shiny, who was in the city recently. "I used to run for nearly 20 km a day and that kind of practice laid a strong foundation for my career," she recalls.Shiny, along with P.T. Usha gave Indian athletics a new life and direction in the 1980s - dubbed as the golden period. But ever since, the State has failed to produce more world-class athletes."Nowadays youngsters are driven towards cricket and are unwilling to put in hard work as they wish to lead a more sophisticated life," observes Shiny, who became Asian champion in 400m even after attaining motherhood. The four time Olympian feels the present bunch of athletes, who represent the country are talented but it is important for them to stay around for a longer period of time. "The government these days is providing a lot of support to athletes and the training sessions they undergo abroad gives them the much needed exposure to new techniques," she says and adds the State associations are also doing their bit towards promoting interest among youngsters. Though a regular visitor at the Usha School of Athletics in Kozhikode, Shiny has no immediate plans of starting one herself. "I am doing my part and Kerala Sports Persons Association (KESPA), which focuses on giving training to the youngsters is a step in the right direction," says the Arjuna awardee. Shiny says athletic events in colleges should not just be a formality and students who perform well should take it seriously. "The corporate sector is coming forward to sponsor outstanding performers and I have also asked the higher officials of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to take in more athletes into their fold," says the Deputy General Manager of FCI.G. PRASAD

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