Long jump athlete Anju Bobby George and late volleyball player Bharathn Nair are natives of Changanaserry in Kottayam.

A collage of Anju Bobby George and Bharathan Nair
news Sports Monday, September 07, 2020 - 15:45

he expression ‘better late than never’ duly applies to the recent resolution passed by the Changanassery Municipal Council in Kottayam district of Kerala. The Municipality, on Friday, announced that it will name roads after two of its natives, two sports icons — athlete Anju Bobby George and late international volleyball player P Bharathan Nair. 

Anju Bobby George, who is currently residing in Bengaluru, has a series of achievements under her belt. The retired athlete made history when she became the first Indian to win the bronze medal at the World Championships in Athletics in Paris in 2003. Later, she went on to bag the gold medal at the IAAF World Athletics Final in Monaco in 2005. 

Bharathan, too, has a raft of achievements to his name. The international volleyball player was the captain of the Indian volleyball team at the Pre Olympic qualifiers in New Delhi in 1963. He was part of the Indian team that won the bronze medal at the 1958 Asian Games. He also played at the 1956 World Volleyball Championship in Paris. An Amry person, Bharathan captained the Services team when won the National title in Allahabad in 1956. 

“Generally, if an athlete or an artiste brings accolades to the country, their achievement is celebrated only for a few days. It gets limited to a few articles and celebratory events. Later, these personalities undergo various hardships in life. Anju Bobby George does not have any hardship but this gesture is to honour and encourage her for her contribution to the country,” Sajan Francis, the chairman of Changanaserry Municipality, told TNM. 

Sajan mooted the proposal at a committee meeting on Friday, and it was instantly passed.       

Currently, athlete PT Usha has roads named after her, in Ernakulam and Calicut. 

Anju Bobby George told PTI that she was grateful to the people of her hometown and leaders of Changanassery Municipal Council for acknowledging her achievements in the world of sports. "It was really an unexpected honour. This is something special because my hometown has acknowledged my achievements," she said.

Bharathan Nair passed away in 2007 at the age of 81. His son Pravin Nair told Sportstar that there has been discussion over the last couple of years to name a road after the late volleyball player. “My mom and I are happy. However, this is not a surprise as there have been talks in recent years,” said Pravin.

Recounting his father’s achievement, Pravin said Bharathan played his first senior National in 1955. He also added that his father was a long jumper and swimmer at a young age.

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