Left young by his mother, Paul struggled for pocket money in his college days

Raised by his grandmother and working-class father after his mother died as a child, Eldhose Paul, who won historic triple jump gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, fought for the pocket money during his university years.

Originally from Kolencherry, a rural area 26 km from Ernakulam town, Paul struggled financially and took up athletics to find a job so he could support his family.

“His family was very poor, his mother had died when he was around 5 or 6 years old and his grandmother (now in her 80s) raised him. His father is a laborer so he faced financial problems,’ Paul’s childhood coach TP Ouseph told PTI from Kerala.

After passing his 12th standard exam, Paul, now 25, wanted to gain admission to the Mar Athanasius College (MAC) Sports Hostel in Kothamangalam. The college is known for grooming Kerala athletes, but was initially rejected by Ouseph, the head coach, due to Paul’s short stature.

”Paul was brought by an acquaintance of mine to be admitted to the MAC sports hostel. It was around 2013. I was the head coach, but I said that boy was very small and he was fit for the triple jump,” Ouseph said.

”For a triple jumper, his height was lower. Even now he is around 5ft 8in tall. But after a try I found out that he (Paul) has really good speed, springy body and explosiveness, so I thought I’ll give it a try. several years later.

”When he was brought to me he could jump around 13m, the next year he improved to 14m and the third year he was jumping close to 16m. So I knew that boy would one day win medals for India.” Useph said that Paul was facing financial difficulties and so he (Useph) helped him many times.

”One or two days a week he leaves the inn to go home and I asked him why. He looks like he worked at the sawmill his grandmother owned for her pocket money.

“He is very humble, has good manners and is focused on his goal. This separates him from my other interns.

”When he came to see me, he had not undergone any systematic training. He had participated in a few district competitions but he had nothing to brag about. I gave him systematic training from scratch.

Paul, who was pursuing a degree in arts, left college without completing his courses as he was selected by the Indian Navy in 2016.

”I told him to go get the job, because it was very important to him financially. When he left in 2016, he was jumping around 15.75m. Later he upgraded it while in the Indian Navy to over 16m and today he broke 17m for the first time.

”I’m so happy to hear the news of his gold medal. Someone from his family called me today to give an update. I’m so happy that an athlete I treated made the country proud.” PTI PDS PDS ATK ATK

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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