Tamil Nadu Athletic Association (TNAA) felicitated its athletes who took part in the Hangzhou Asian Games at the Chennai Airport on Wednesday, with one sovereign gold coin each.
Four Tamil Nadu athletes — Praveen Chithravel (bronze in men’s triple jump), Vithya Ramraj (bronze in 400m H, silver in 4x400m women’s relay & 4x400m mixed relay), Rajesh Ramesh (gold in 4x400m men’s relay, silver in 4x400m mixed relay), Subha Venkatesan (silver in 4x400m women’s relay & 4x400m mixed relay) — won a total of eight medals at Hangzhou.
Jeswin Aldrin (eighth in men’s long jump at Hangzhou), Vithya and Rajesh and the Indian relay coach at the Games, P. Nagesh were given one sovereign a gold coin each. However, Subha Venkatesan and Praveen couldn’t make it as they had apparently missed their flights to Chennai.
C. Latha, TNAA secretary, said athletes did well because of good infrastructure available in the state in terms of more synthetic tracks when compared to other States and the pro-active role of clubs and coaches—both private and Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu.
“Eight from Tamil Nadu participated in the Asian Games, with four going on to win medals. TNAA’s grassroot program with support from SDAT, JSW Group and Reliance went a long way in our athletes doing well,” she said.
Vithya said she will definitely try to break the National record held by P.T. Usha in the 400m H (she equalled Usha’s record at the heats in Hangzhou). She said: “I never thought that I could win three medals. All thanks to Athletics Federation of India for choosing me in the relay events.”
Rajesh said “we were always confident of winning a gold in the men’s relay as we had already created an Asian record at the World championships.”