THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Geethu Anna Jose was supposed to be at work in the Indian Railways’ office at Chennai on Tuesday, but the basketball player found herself at her in-laws’ house here when the news broke of her being selected for the Arjuna Award.
At the right place at the right time, the lanky Indian international was in a jovial mood at the residence in Pattoor here as she finally received the coveted award after being recommended for the fifth time.
“To be in Kerala when the good news came was fortunate enough. But to celebrate this recognition at long last with my husband and family is a great feeling,” said the 29-year-old, who hails from Changanassery.
Her husband, Rahul Koshi, was also happy for his partner. “With the strain she has been taking in her life staying away from the family and going through a lot of hardship for the passion of the game, Geethu definitely deserves this recognition,” said Rahul, who works for an MNC at Kochi.
Geethu, who is a deputy chief ticketing inspector at the Railways, already has her future plans in focus. “I am hoping to get a transfer to Kerala and is looking forward to play for the Kerala basketball team soon,” she said brushing aside the rumours of her retiring after marriage.
“The family has been really encouraging me to continue in the game. My mother-in-law, who had been a squash player during her time in England, is especially very enthusiastic about my career,” Geethu said. Geethu started her sporting career as a volleyball player and high jumper at Assumption College, but shifted focus to basketball soon. She became the first Indian basketball player to play for a side outside India when she joined the Australian League, but was forced to return due to commitments with the Indian team.
She also became the first woman basketball player to win trials in WNBA with Chicago Sky, Los Angeles Sparks and San Antonio Silver Stars in 2011.
“I hope that many more youngsters will be inspired by the recognition that the government has been bestowed upon me,” Geethu said.