ALAPPUZHA: After many a slip between the cup and the lip, the coveted Arjuna Award has finally brought cheer to the family of rowing champion Saji Thomas at Kuttanad on Tuesday.
The Parayanattuthara family members and neighbours of Saji have been eagerly waiting for the highest sporting honour to come to their village for the past few years.Saji, who is in Hyderabad, however missed all the excitement and celebrations in his village when the family members and local residents distributed sweets soon after the Arjuna awards were announced. As hard work has finally paid for the untiring rower, his mother and brothers expressed satisfaction in the award.
“We had been waiting for the award since 2010. But the award kept eluding him in the past few years. Finally, the Central Government and Sports Ministry considered our request,” said Siby, brother of Saji.As the annual monsoon has always been a trouble maker for the villagers, Siby said it was the flooded waters of Kuttanad that had virtually played a key role in Saji’s achievements who brought glory to the backward village. “The Vembanad lake and its rivulets helped him achieve two silver medals in Asian Games in 2010,” said Siby, while pointing to the poor road connectivity in the region. “It is sad that the authorities have turned a blind eye to the backwardness of the village of a rowing champion who brought laurels to the nation. Saji lives with wife Asha and daughters Alona and Saina in Kuttanad.