Sport, family roots attract Coe to India

Emotional touch

Sport, family roots attract Coe to India

Sebastian Coe, the newly-elected president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, is set to visit India soon and making it special will be a personal angle.

 
Coe, who will take over from Lamine Diack as the new chief of the world body at the conclusion of the 15th World Championships in athletics here, has a strong Indian connection with his grandfather hailing from the country. Moreover, his mother Angela was born in New Delhi.
 
“India will be probably one of my first visits and it is as much about sport as my mother,” Coe said in an interview with Deccan Herald here. “I have already spoken to the Indian federation about it,” he added.

“As you know, my grandfather (Sardari Lal) was a hotelier and he was from Punjab in pre-partitioned India,” Coe explained, underlining the significance of the visit. “He studied in London as a lawyer and he met my grandmother (Vera Swan) there. They had a hotel -- the Marina Hotel -- at Connaught Place in Delhi. It was the hotel where my mother was born. She was brought up there till the age of 10 or 11, then she came to England.
 
“I have my cousins in Delhi. My uncle was the Indian high commissioner in London and then Washington for ma­ny years. One of my cou­sins -- Julius Sen -- is a senior lecturer in international relations,” said the two-time Olympic 1500M champion, who defeated pole vault legend Sergei Bubka in the elections to the IAAF president’s post.

 Coe had retraced his roots back in 2009, visiting the hotel where his mother was born, during a trip to Delhi as part of the London Olympics’ international legacy programme.

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