Usha pays rich tribute to Suresh Babu (Lead)

February 19th, 2011 - 9:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi/Ranchi, Feb 19 (IANS) India’s star athlete P.T.Usha paid a rich tribute to Asian Games gold medallist and Arjuna awardee Suresh Babu, who passed away in a local hospital in Ranchi due to a liver disease Saturday.Usha said Babu, a fellow Keralite, will be remembered as a “great sportsperson”. Babu came to the Feb 12-26 34th National Games as the chef-de-mission of Kerala, and celebrated his 58th birthday only nine days ago. His body is expected to arrive by air at Kochi Sunday.

“I was 14 when I first met him when he was the star in the athletics arena,” Usha told IANS.

“He was a down to earth personality and a straight forward person. He had no airs and was always there to help juniors and later on became a coach. I personally feel that he was not fully used because he was technically talented too and always had an answer for any doubts,” said Usha.

The former international athlete breathed his lastafter he was was hospitalised Saturday morning following critical illness.

“It is very sad that he had to go like this. We did our best but he died during the course of treatment” said R.K. Anand, president of Jharkhand Olympic Association (JOA).

Besides his 1978 Asian Games gold in long jump, Babu represented India in the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Babu in 1972 won the national championship in high jump, a title he held for six years.

He also won the national championship in long jump during the years 1974, 1977 and 1979 and the triple jump in 1974, 1976 and 1978.

He was also a success in decathlon at the national level.

His international experience began with the Munich Olympics of 1972 but he had to wait for the Teheran Asian Games in 1974 for his first medal, a bronze in decathlon, followed by a gold in the Asian Championships at Seoul the following year.

Babu led the Indian athletics team to the 1978 Commonwealth Games at Edmonton and won bronze in the long jump. One of his brightest moment came when he won gold at the 1978 Asian Games in Bangkok with a jump of 7.85 metres.

At the 1979 Asian Athletics Meet in Tokyo he picked up a silver.

During his seven years as an active athlete, Babu also won medals at competitions in Sri Lanka, pakistan, and the Philippines and was the captain of the Indian team for the World Athletics Meet at Montreal, Canada, in 1979.

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