KOCHI: At the Tokyo Olympics, nine athletes from Kerala will be hoping to pen history. While M Sreeshankar has an outside chance of a medal in the long jump, there will be a lot of curiosity on how Sajan Prakash fares in swimming after qualifying for the Olympics with the A cut mark. TNIE speaks to Kerala’s former Olympians, who have made their mark in international arenas about the prospects of the current team in the Olympics that is happening in the middle of a pandemic.
The Olympics is such a massive stage and I wish the Kerala athletes all the very best. I see Sreeshankar having a good chance of winning a medal. It’s about how you perform on the day. There won’t be any spectators, so it would be a different feel for the athletes but they would be ready. I feel our athletes are ready and it is about giving their best. Even the best may not win a medal at the Olympics. So just enjoy and give your best.
T C Yohannan, 1976 Olympics in Canada
There will be a lot of regulations due to Covid. But that shouldn’t affect the athletes when it comes to the games. This will still be an experience of a lifetime for them. I feel Sreeshankar is worth watching out for and the mixed relay team can also put on a good show
K M Binu, 2004 Athens Olympics
I think Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and long jumper M Sreeshankar might bring in medals for our country. Our 4x400m mixed relay team is also expected to do magic. Every medal is a boost for our country, not just the gold
P Ramachandran, 2000 Sydney Olympics
Our woman boxer Mary Kom deserves to win a gold this time. I have high hopes about P V Sindu. But it is sad this time we do not have a women’s relay team for 4x400m. But I expect our boys’ team and mixed relay team to do well on track. More than physical practice, we should concentrate on energy nutrition and body restoration for our upcoming talents
Jincy Philip, 2000 Sydney Olympics
It is sad that female athletes from Kerala did not make it. We used to have female representation from Kerala almost every Olympics. This is a rarity and is happening for the first time in ages. Hope in the future Olympics, we continue to see women excelling and coming to the fore again. But I expect our athletes who are going to Tokyo to put on a good show and make us all proud — Anju Bobby George, 2004 Athens Olympics and 2008 Beijing Olympics
Kerala athletes at Tokyo Olympics
M P Jabir (400m hurdles); M Sreeshankar (long jump); K T Irfan
(20km); 4x400m relay: Amoj Jacob, Muhammed Anas, Noah Nirmal Tom; 4x400m mixed relay: Alex Antony; Sajan Prakash (swimming), P R Sreejesh (hockey)