Kozhikode: Malaysian athlete Eldhose Paul produced a personal best 17.03 meters in the men’s triple jump to win India’s first-ever gold medal in this athletics discipline at the Commonwealth Games. With this feat, Paul also became the first Keralite to win individual gold at the Commonwealth Games.
His rise to the top has a long history of struggles and sacrifices. The teacher who identified Eldhose’s early potential spoke to mathrubhumi.com and recounted the athlete’s humble beginnings.
Eldhose, from Kothamangalam, lost his mother when he was just four years old. It was his grandmother Mariyamma, an octogenarian, who played a pivotal role in shaping this young boy’s future.
Even before Eldhose made his mark while attending Mar Athanasius College, the Kothamangalam native’s talent was first identified and nurtured by Benny Manakkadan, the school’s longtime physical education teacher. Krishnan Elayath Memorial High School in Alangad.
Benny identified Eldhose’s potential when Saramma brought him home one day to ask him to enroll him in KEM High School. “His grandmother asked me to enroll him in school and let him stay at the hostel. He was from my neighborhood in Kolenchery. He was enrolled in 5th grade and was allowed to stay at the hostel. from school. He often traveled with me to school during vacations. Over time, we got to know each other and I started noticing his caliber in sports,” Benny told mathrubhumi.com.
Eldhose studied at the Standard 5 to 9 school, and it was here that he honed his skills to become a seasoned athlete. “He was very hardworking and involved in many events. At that time we had students training in the high jump, long jump, pole vault and many others. idea of competing in all events and loved competing with his colleagues. During his time he practiced pole vault at junior level and even won a medal. However, he was at his peak when he quit. school after the 9th standard,” he said.
Benny, who has coached several well-known athletes, recalls how he let Eldhose leave school after the hostel run by Benny closed due to financial problems. However, Benny saw his talent and helped enroll him in a new school and coach, which paved the way to becoming the star we see today.