Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bronze at 33 yrs on Asian Games debut

MUMBAI: At 33, Pramila Aiyappa is well past her prime and is one of the oldest athletes in the Indian contingent at Guangzhou. For the Coorgi, who dominated the combined events in the domestic circuit and who competed alongside Anju Bobby George in long jump, the bronze at her Asian Games debut on Tuesday marked the end of a 12-year wait.

"She has been trying to compete in the Games since 1998," recalls BP Aiyappa, Pramila's husband and coach. "The first time she was an upcoming junior and hence she didn't get a chance. She missed the next Games in Busan as she was down with jaundice. In 2006, she was returning to action after the birth of our daughter and was not selected though she did better than the qualifying mark in long jump," he told TOI from Bangalore, hours after his wife had won the medal.

Aiyappa said after missing the last three Asian Games, Pramila was desperate to participate this time and win a medal. "She trained hard and as a result she was able to win a medal at the fag end of her career," the former national champion in 400m, said adding that their six-year-old daughter Unnathi is her biggest motivator.

Aiyappa felt Pramila should have won this medal many years back. "She won a silver medal at the Asian Track and Field meet in 2001 with a tally of 6011 points and today she won the bronze with a total of 5415 points," he said.

Looking ahead, Aiyappa said Pramila is thoroughly motivated to qualify for the London Games. So what if she will be 36 then. "Two years back she recorded her personal best and qualified for the Beijing Olympics and now she wants to put 'Triple Olympian' on her visiting card," Aiyappa said.


Pramila Aiyappa, 33 yrs

Hometown: Coorg
Employer: Railways

Career Highlights
2000: Competed in Sydney Olympics
2001: Silver, Asian Track & Field, Jakarta
2008: Competed in Beijing Olympics

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