The call that shattered Jerin’s life

Promising quartermiler rues missed opportunity as a personal incident took precedence over her career.

The 22-year-old Jerin Joseph from Padua, in Kottayam, now realises that there is not much time left for the coming year, another big one with the Asian Championships and World Championships in Doha.   -  Sojan Joseph

Quartermiler Jerin Joseph was on a high late last year. She clocked her personal best of 54.12 seconds while winning the bronze at the national inter-university athletics championships in Guntur and got a call to join the national camp.

This year had majors like the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games and Jerin, who went to the women’s 4x400m relay national camp in Patiala along with her Kerala state-mate V.K. Vismaya, was dreaming big.

But a call one day shattered her life.

“My brother had met with a bike accident and he was in a critical condition. His spleen and liver were damaged and there was nobody at home. So, I had to leave the camp,” Jerin said in a chat with Sportstar after winning the 400m silver in the varsities Nationals on Monday evening.

“My elder sister is a nurse in Mumbai and my other sister was doing her teacher’s training course, so both could not come. I had no other go.”

Her brother has recovered now and Jerin is trying to get her athletics career back on track.

She realises that she missed a great opportunity, for Vismaya went on to anchor the Indian relay team to gold at the recent Asian Games in Jakarta.

It was a run that changed Vismaya’s life.

“I should have been there in that team,” said Alphonsa College’s Jerin with a huge sigh.

“I could not do any national meets and then the relay national campers were sent abroad for training. Had I done even one meet, I would have found my way back. And then I had exams and a little later, a tendon injury.”

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The 22-year-old from Padua, in Kottayam, now realises that there is not much time left for the coming year, another big one with the Asian Championships and World Championships in Doha.

“I have to come back fast, I need a job very badly, there’s virtually no income at home,” she explained.

“My sister had taken a loan for her nursing course and the salary she gets goes towards its interest and her mess fees. She does not have much to give us.

“My dad died earlier and my mother runs the home. We have a cow, a few tapioca plants and some rubber trees but life is very tough.”

Will 2019 change Jerin’s life?