KOCHI: The first Indian male athlete to reach the semis of the World Championship. The first Indian athlete to do a sub-50s race in 400m hurdles. Gold medallist in the 2010 Asian Games and the current national record holder. Long hurdler Joseph G Abraham holds many such distinctions. Less than three years after his retirement, the 35-year-old is now making a return to the national scenario.
The Kottayam native will be joining the national camp in Patiala to train quarter-milers after the World Championship. Joseph, who is employed with the Southern Railways, will assist foreign coach Galina P Bukharina to prepare the teams for the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games slated to be held next year.
“He was an outstanding performer and the AFI officials wanted to know whether he was interested in coming to the camp again as a trainer. His response was positive. We hope to see him at Patiala NIS in the new season,” said an Athletics Federation of India (AFI) source. Joseph had recently been to NIS, where the AFI was running the main national camp, during the Federation Cup last week.
“I went to Patiala on the insistence of the AFI. AFI bosses had a talk with me and they asked whether I was interested to take up the job. I replied positively,” Joseph told Express.
Fondly addressed as ‘Joseppai’ by his contemporaries, Joseph had regularly featured in the national camp at NIS Patiala for 12 consecutive years: from 2002-2014.