Upset with neglect, Kerala's star triple jumpers to move out of state

Eldhose Paul and Abdulla Aboobacker
Eldhose Paul and Abdulla Aboobacker had won gold and silver at the Commonwealth Games last year. File photo

Hangzhou (China): Close on the heels of shuttler H S Prannoy's decision to shift base to Tamil Nadu, two other Kerala-based athletes accused the state's sports fraternity of shabby treatment and announced that they would also move out. Eldhose Paul and Abdulla Aboobacker, who made history by winning the gold and silver, respectively, in the men's triple jump final at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year, said they would not don Kerala's jersey at the National Games scheduled to be held in Goa from October 26 to November 9.

Prannoy, who claimed two medals at the 19th Asian Games, which concluded in Hangzhou on Sunday, had raised serious allegations against the state sports department and the Kerala Badminton (Shuttle) Association before announcing that he would be representing Tamil Nadu from the next Senior National Badminton Championship onwards.

The 26-year-old Eldhose said he did not receive even a congratulatory message from the people helming the state sports department when he became the only Malayali to win an individual athletic gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. "I have realised that I won't get any kind of recognition in Kerala. I'll have to migrate to some other state to get financial support for preparing for next year's Paris Olympics," he said.

Eldhose, a native of Kolenchery in Ernakulam district, added that he would apply for a No Objection Certificate from the Kerala State Athletics Association so that he could relocate either to Tamil Nadu or Odisha.

Apart from clinching silver at the Commonwealth Games, the 27-year-old Abdulla had also won gold at the Asian Athletics Championship held in Bangkok. A native of Valayam in Kozhikode district, he had also made the cut for two back-to-back World Championships.

Athletes from other states, who won medals at the Asian Athletics Championship, received cash incentives worth crores from their respective state governments. We expected at least a nominal cash prize and a word of appreciation from the sports authorities in Kerala. But that didn’t happen," Abdulla said.

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