Suresh Babu was an Indian Athlete from Kerala. He was known for his winning titles in long jumping, high jumping and decathlon. He gained fame in the period of 1972-1979. In this period he achieved success in long, triple and high jumping on both national and international levels. The athlete has brought laurels and perils for his nation by bagging medals in various games around the world.
Suresh Babu was born on 10th February 1953 in the town of Kollam in the Indian state of Kerala. All his education took place in the same place and he was qualified with a science graduate degree. He was good at athletics since he was a kid when he participated in school and district level competitions. He was recognised in Infant Jesus High School and Fatima Mata College from where he was educated. The talent was quickly seen and he was trained for national level games.
His first appearance on National level was as junior when he was 16 in 1969. He was glorified in the nationals. Not much time later he also made it to the International tracks and claimed titles over there. He quickly climbed his ladder to success but not with ease. He faced many hurdles but tackled them. Even after retiring he continued to be a coach and administrator. Suresh Babu dedicated his life for the sport and made his nation proud.
National Level Career and Achievements
Suresh Babu did exceptionally well on National level games. He started off as a junior and then won many national titles. Here is his achievements tally when he conquered long jumping, high jumping and decathlon in India:
- Won National Championship in High Jump from 1972 to 1978
- Won National Championship in Long Jump in the years 1974, 1977 and 1979
- Won Triple Jump Championship in 1974, 1976 and 1978
- Won Decathlon Championship in 1974, 1975 and 1978
International Career and Achievements
He came out as a shining star in the Indian National Championships and grew hopes for Indian team of athletes. He contributed largely to the country’s pride in Athletics on the international platform. He touched several new heights during his career abroad. The list goes like this:
- First International appearance in Munich Olympics of 1972
- Captain of Indian University’s athletics team for World Universities Games in 1973
- Bronze Medal in Decathlon, Tehran Asian Games in 1974
- Gold Medal for Decathlon in Asian Championship at Seoul in 1975
- Captain of Indian Athletics Team for Commonwealth Games of 1978 held at Edmonton, Canada
- Bagged a Bronze Medal in Commonwealth Games (1978) for Long Jump
- In 1978, won a Gold Medal in Bangkok Asian Games
- Silver Medal at the Asian Athletics Meet in 1979 in Long Jump category
- Won many medals in Ceylon, Lahore and Philippines
- Lead the Indian team for World Athletics Meet in Montreal in 1979
The Jumper Never Stopped
After his seven year long active career, Babu slowed down and eventually retired. But his love for athletics was not retired so he was back on track but this time as a coach. He coached at Sports Authority of India of Bangalore from 1986 to 1990. He also joined the All India Electricity Sports Control Board as a member of its Technical Committee. Suresh worked as a Sports Officer in Kerala Sports Council. He had earlier served as Special Officer for Sports and Games on the Kerala State Electricity Board.
He was awarded the Arjuna Award in 1978 for his excellent performance in athletics.
It ended on bad note. He died due to liver cirrhosis after vomiting blood in 2011. The sad incident happened when he was attending the 34th National Games in Ranchi, Jharkhand. The jumper was a clear inspiration for young athletes of the 80s. His dominance is still felt on the track for jumping. He became a role model for many Indian jumpers and got himself a place in the golden records of Indian Athletics.
Written By: Rituparna Desai