TIRUVALLA:The mortal remains of P O John,81, vice-president of the Kerala Table Tennis Association and a former Basketball Referees Board secretary, who died at his residence in Kizhakenmuthoor near here on Wednesday, will be laid to rest on Saturday. The funeral will be held at the Sehion Marthoma Church at 12 noon. John had retired as the physical education department head of Titus II Teachers’ Training College here. His activities gave a fillip to grassroot development of basketball in Tiruvalla, serving as a coach, referee and an organiser.
A keen promoter of basketball, he was the backbone in popularising basketball in the 1960s alongside the likes of C S Abraham, P S Viswappan, Kochappan, P C Thomas and Thomas J Fen. There were very few tournaments at that time, with the Marthoma Trophy inter-collegiate basketball tournament being one of them. John was the chief organiser of the famous tournament, which regularly attracted massive crowd during the time. On several occasions, he had also served as the manager and selector of Kerala and Mahatma Gandhi universities. Also passionate about music, he had formed a choral society called Male Voice and Choral Society and was serving as its president.
He was the founder-member of Tiruvalla YMCA, serving as the president and the chairman for sports and games several times. He was also the first president of Tiruvalla Sports Coaching Centre, apart from playing a leading role in staging several other important competitions including the Ranji Trophy.
John is survived by son Dr Oommen John. His wife Rachel John and daughter Shereen Ajith had predeceased him.