MANGALURU:Armyman G Laxmanan, after the victory ceremony in men’s 5000m, went to L Suriya, who had won the same event in the women’s segment, and offered her the bouquet he had received. Suriya feigned ignorance of his presence at first. But when he persisted, she took the bouquet.
For Laxmanan, this has been a routine after winning whenever Suriya is around. He keeps the bouquets for Suriya, whom he addresses as akka (elder sister). He moved into Suriya’s house when he was 14 to train under her father, S Loganathan, a reputed coach in Pudukottai. As he didn’t have a son, Loganathan took Laxmanan under his wing.
The long-distance runner’s father expired 19 years ago, leaving behind four children and a wife. Although he is now in the national camp in Dharamshala under coach Surinder Singh, Laxmanan finds time to call Loganathan, whom he lovingly refers to as appa (father). “I call him every single day. He brought me up like his son and Suriya always took care that I got the extra share of love, which I am entitled to, being the youngest,” Laxmanan laughed.
The bond with Loganathan family has grown so intense that Laxmanan spends most of his vacation with them, “While on vacation, I stay with my mother and siblings for a brief period and return to appa’s place. That has become a habit.”
Meanwhile, Suriya praised her thambi (younger brother) for securing the Olympic berth. “He was working well and qualified easily. I also expect him to qualify for the 10,000m,” Suriya said.
As she was winding up her talk, she was called for the medal ceremony. Laxmanan cracked a smile and told Suriya, “Akka, I will wait outside.” It was time to re-enact the bouquet routine.