John Selvan’s death leaves Kerala’s sports fraternity shocked

John Selvan’s death leaves Kerala’s sports fraternity shocked
Padmini Thomas and John Selvan. Photo: Manorama Archives
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Thiruvananthapuram: The tragic and untimely demise of former athlete John Selvan, who fell to death from the terrace of his daughter's home here on Wednesday, has left Kerala’s sports fraternity deeply shocked and saddened.

The 67-year-old, husband of former athlete Padmini Thomas, was the head of a family that has put the state on India’s sports map in a big way.

A prolific long and cross-country runner in his heyday, Selvan had won several medals for Kerala and the Railways.

Remarkably, not only the parents, but their children too were inclined towards sports. The couple was the first generation of a family that has enriched sports in the country. Selvan was a national champion in his chosen discipline while Padmini, an Arjuna awardee, set the track ablaze with her performances in the 80s and won two medals at the 1982 Asian Games (silver in 4x100m relay and bronze in 400m).

Their daughter Diana, who herself is a proven athlete, is married to Joseph Clinton, an outstanding long jumper who won gold at the Asian Junior Championships in 2004. Their son Dany too is a distinguished sportsperson, having represented the country in the Asian Varsity Fencing Championships held in Singapore in 2009.

In sports circles, they are known as the ‘Railway family’ as both Selvan and Padmini as well as Diana have been employed by the Indian Railways in various capacities.

Padmini, who served as the reservation supervisor at Southern Railway’s Thiruvananthapuram division, went on to became the president of the Kerala State Sports Council. 

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