In four decades of her association with hockey, newly-appointed Hockey India president Mariamma Koshy has made a long trek from the little-known village of Keezhvaipur in Pathanamthitta district to become the first-ever administrator from Kerala to hold the highest office of any national sports federation.
It was her professional background in accountancy that brought Mariamma to Kochi, and thus onboard the Kerala Hockey Association bandwagon.
“I worked for 21 years with AVT (A V Thomas and Company Ltd) in Panampilly Nagar in the accounts department. That was also the time I became active in hockey administration. From then on, I have sort of become a Kochiite. But I still consider myself a Keezhvaipur person,” Mariamma told Express.
Having served as the interim president of Hockey India since November 2010, Mariamma, 63, was elevated to the top post the other day even as the game passes through one of its most challenging phases ever.
“I never wanted to hold an administrative post, let alone such a big one as the Hockey India president. And I never thought I would get the honour. My colleagues have persuaded me to take it up. I am happy about receiving a big opportunity to serve hockey,” she said.
A graduate in economics from Mar Thoma College, Tiruvalla, Mariamma was attracted to hockey during her college days, earning fame as a nippy forward who was adept as a centre-forward or as a left-winger.
“My father (late V J Chacko) was a popular volleyball player in his time and my brother Jacob John was a contemporary of Jimmy George (international volleyballer). I found my calling in hockey,” she said.
And while she stayed on the wings as a player, following her inability to take the offer to play for the state women’s team in 1971, she could breeze through as an administrator, climbing the rungs pretty fast after starting out as the Ernakulam District Women’s Hockey Association president in 1994.
It was a year before retiring from AVT in 2006 that Mariamma lost her husband Koshy Mathew. A mother of twin daughters, Irene and Merin, she currently resides at Thevara here.