Finally, Olympians Anju Bobby George, late Bharathan Nair recognised by hometown Changanassery

Well, things changed on Friday after the Changanassery Municipal Council in Kottayam district passed a resolution to name roads after its sporting stars.

Published: 04th September 2020 11:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th September 2020 01:31 PM   |  A+A-

Anju Bobby George

Express News Service

KOCHI: "Truly I tell you no prophet is accepted in his hometown." - Bible.

For long India's sporting greats and Olympians, long-jumper Anju Bobby George and the late volleyball international P Bharathan Nair had no landmark or roads named after them in their home state Kerala and even in their hometown Changanassery, proving the Bible verse true.

Well, things changed on Friday after the Changanassery Municipal Council in Kottayam district passed a resolution to name roads after its sporting stars.

"We have passed a resolution today (Friday) to name a road each in Changanassery municipality after Anju Bobby George and Bharathan Nair. It's has been pending for a long time. Better late than never," said Sajan Francis, Changanassery municipal chairman.

"I actually came to know about the news through my friend's Twitter post. It was totally surprising as I had no clue about it. It is really an honour to have a road named after me, that too in my hometown," said Anju, who remains India's first and only world champion in Athletics. She made history when she won the bronze medal in the long jump at the 2003 World Championships in Athletics in Paris.

"It was totally unexpected as no events or games were happening due to the pandemic outbreak. I'm awaiting the full details as the municipal officials haven't contacted me yet. This honour is like winning any other medal or award, I'm so elated," said Anju.

PT Usha, Kerala's other sporting superstar, has several roads named after her in the state, with several gold medals in Asian Games but no World Championship medals.

For Bharathan Nair too, this is a belated honour. Nair captained the Indian volleyball team at the 1963 Pre Olympic qualifiers in New Delhi. He was also a member of the 1958 Asian Games Bronze medal-winning Indian team, and a member of the Indian team that played the World Volleyball  Championship in Paris in 1956, which also happened to the last time India played the World championship volleyball. He was a native of Puzhavathu in Changanassery.  

He was also the captain of the Services team when they won the national volleyball championship for the first time in 1957. Nair died in 2007 at the age of 81.


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