Athletics Olympian Suresh Babu dead

Suresh Babu

Babu, one of the finest all-round athletes India has ever produced, was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis last year. He was the chef-de-mission of the Kerala contingent here.

On Friday evening, the 59-year-old Arjuna awardee fainted in his room before regaining consciousness within five minutes.

On Saturday morning, Babu had a glass of juice around 8.30 before vomiting blood and falling unconscious. He was then rushed to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences.

Doctors tried hard to resuscitate him but with his body not responding, the hospital finally pronounced him dead at around 11.30 am.

“It saddens me completely to announce the death of Olympian Suresh Babu,” said Working Chairman of the National Game Organising Committee RK Anand.

“A great athlete, I condole his demise on behalf of the Jharkhand Olympic Association. We will do everything possible to have his body flown to Kerala at the earliest.”

A minute’s silence was observed at the Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium and other venues as a mark of respect for Babu.

A versatile athlete, Babu made his mark as a high jumper, long jumper and decathlete in the seventies and held national titles in all the three events.

Later, he functioned as the junior national coach before returning to Kerala to function with the State sports council.

Babu represented India at the 1972 Munich Olympics and won the decathlon bronze at the Tehran Asian Games in 1974 before claiming the gold in the same event at the next edition in Bangkok with a leap of 7.85 metres.

He also won bronze in long jump at the 1978 Edmonton Commonwealth Games.

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