" Diju, 33, is just the second person from Kerala after Vimal Kumar to represent India in the Olympics, while 37-year-old rower Thomas also has been waiting for a long time for the honour."
Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 12 - The wait is finally over for former India volleyball captain Tom Joseph. He and four other sportspersons from Kerala were Tuesday named for the Arjuna Award.

In the list of 15 nominees, the four others from Kerala are Tintu Luka (athletics), Geethu Anna Jose (basketball), Saji Thomas (rowing) and V. Diju (badminton).

Joseph's name was on the list of probables for the past nine years.

I am certainly delighted and overjoyed that I have finally made it, said the 34-year-old Joseph, a sports officer with Bharat Petroleum in Kochi.

Luka, a 25-year-old national record holder in 800 metres, is with the P.T. Usha School of Athletics in Kozhikode.

I owe this award to Usha and her school, Luka said.

The 29-year-old Geethu Anna Jose captained the India women's basketball team and is currently with the Southern Railway.

I was a bit tensed whether I will get it this time. Finally when I heard it, I was overjoyed and so happy, Jose said.

Diju, 33, is just the second person from Kerala after Vimal Kumar to represent India in the Olympics, while 37-year-old rower Thomas also has been waiting for a long time for the honour.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy congratulated the winners and said this was going to give a great impetus to the budding sports talent in the state.


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