Thiruvananthapuram: Aparna Roy of St Joseph’s Higher Secondary School, Pulloorampara, and A S Sandra of Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School, Thevara, won the gold medals instituted by Malayala Manorama for the best athletes of the 62nd State School Athletics Championship, which concluded here on Sunday.
Malayala Manorama sports editor Anil Radhakrishnan gave away the honours.
Aparna, a Plus Two student, had won three medals – gold in 100m hurdles, silver in 200m and bronze in 100m – in the senior girls' category, while Sandra, a Plus One student, made a clean sweep by clinching the yellow metal in junior girls' 100, 200m and 400m events in the junior category.
The selection committee, comprising Olympian Jincy Phillip, Dr Jimmy Joseph, head, physical education department, Assumption College, Changanassery, and M A George, coach, SAI, Thiruvananthapuram, noted that both of them showed a lot of promise and have the potential to make it big in athletics.
The panel lavished praise on Aparna for her incredible performance in the 100m hurdles event. At the school meet, she produced the kind of timing that could fetch her a medal at the Asian junior level. She is strongly touted to become the future star of Indian athletes and a medal prospect at continental championships.
While focussing on her favourite event, she could do remarkably well in 100m and 200m sprint events as well, the panel pointed out. She is strong, lean as well as naturally energetic and athletic. Moreover, she is constantly improving her personal bests and is very motivated.
Daughter of teacher couple Roy Oveli and Teena, this was Aparna’s final year in the schools meet and she wanted to leave on a high note. She is coached by Tomy Cherian.
Sandra’s golden run in the junior 400m race was adjudged the second best performance of the meet. Her timing was even better than that of the medal winners in the senior category. If groomed properly and if she continues her progress at the same pace, she is capable of winning medals at the Asian level, the award jury opined.
A disciple of Olympian Mercy Kuttan, Sandra ended up blazing the track for two more gold medals – in 100m and 200m sprint events. She is the daughter of Ajimon Joy and Shiny of Cheruvila Vadakkethil in Govindamangalam near Kottarakkara.
The other athletes featured in the short-list for the prestigious award were Sandra Babu (gold in senior girls’ triple jump with record), Ancy Sojan (gold in senior girls’ 100 and 200 metres), C R Abdul Rasaq (gold in junior boys’ 100 and 400 metres), A Rohit (gold in junior boys' 400m hurdles).