KOCHI: Excitement is at fever pitch. The students of Mar Basil Higher Secondary School, Kothamangalam are all upbeat about retaining their crowning champion school title at the 62nd edition of Kerala State Schools Athletics Championship. They tasted their success for the first time in 2009, when they wrenched the title of the champion school after being runners-up for seven long years.
The five-time champions’ arsenal is loaded. “We will win it this time too. There is no question about that,” asserts Adarsh Gopi, who has clinched the first place in the 3000m race (senior boys). “We have to do it for Jimmy sir. It is going to be his retirement gift,” he says. “We might be just a 26-member team, but we will win,” says Adarsh. “One kanthari can add enough spice right,” their coach Shiby Mathew chips in.
But the capital city never blessed them with a win. “We lost for one one point and once for half a point. Can you believe that? And then again we lost for 11 points. We hope the fourth time will turn lucky for us,” says Shiby. Their fight will be with their arch-rival, the St George Higher Secondary School, Kothamangalam. “We are this strong because of our rivals. We need them to up our game,” says Shiby.
It all started in 1999, with three students, Shiby recalls. And over the years, the school has produced several brilliant sportspersons. Shiby’s voice swells with pride as she recounts the number of international athletes and Olympians the school has been able to contribute. For Shiby, training students from scratch and getting results from them is the greatest joy. “When I was in the second standard, I chose sports. But at that time there was no infrastructure and none to guide. I could never realise my dreams.
But now, with these kids, I am striving to help them attain their dreams. And that gives the greatest of joys,” she adds.As many as 100 students in the school are ardently training themselves for sports. The day starts at six in the ground for Shiby and the students, as they train themselves round the year to clock victories in the championships.