Sportstar Kerala Sports Conclave: The untold story of Suresh Babu

Actor Mukesh remembers how it all began for one of India’s greatest athletes, Suresh Babu.

Mukesh at the Kerala Sports Conclave in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.   -  The Hindu

Mukesh knows how to tell a story. Often it is the humour that keeps the listener hooked, but it was an inspiring anecdote from his school days that regaled his audience at Hotel SP Grand Days – and on live television -- on Wednesday morning.

The popular actor, who is also the Kollam MLA, was speaking at the Sportstar Kerala Sports Conclave. “In my hometown we used to have competitions in arts and sports during Onam and I used to participate in several events,” he said. “There would be a large queue of competitors and one of my relatives stopped his bicycle when he saw me waiting for my turn.”

That youngster asked Mukesh why he was standing in the queue. “When I explained to him why, he asked me whether he could also give an entry in one of the sports competitions and I told him he could, since he was a resident of the area,” he said. “Then he asked me which event he should enter. I said ‘jump’, since he was very tall.”

 

But he had to specify which jump, for, there were three types: long, high and triple (it was known as hop, step and jump those days). So he turned to Mukesh, who was his junior at school, for advice again.

“Since one needed training to compete in high and triple jump, I asked him to pick long jump,” Mukesh recalled. “At the competition, his jump went past the pit; nobody had done that in the history of our Pattathanam Sports Club.”

That boy went on to become the long jump champion at the Kollam district athletics meet. “Then he became the State and National champion,” he said. “He even represented India at the Olympics. I am talking about Suresh Babu.”

At a time when the Olympics is in full swing at Tokyo, few tales could be more inspiring than the one about the multiple Asian Games medallist, who passed away at Ranchi during the National Games in 2011.

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