He was no kid born with a silver spoon, instead, what made 26 years old Alex Antony is the rough seas of the capital city’s coastal village where he grew up in the midst of a tough life when his father, he and his younger brother eked out a living as fishermen.
Anthony will represent India in the mixed 4x400m relay after he clocked 47.83 seconds in the national trials held by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI).
Overcoming all the hardships, Antony is all set to board the flight to Japan to take part in the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to begin on July 23.
Antony spoke to IANS over phone from NIS Patiala and said that it was the passion to work hard and the tough life that has made him what he is today.
“I started as a footballer but when I reached Class X and shifted to the local government school at Kanjiramkulam, football was not available. I thank my first instructor, the school’s physical education master Pradeep, who identified my athletic skills. Since then, I had no reason to look back," said Antony.
He soon started to concentrate on 400m and fine-tuned it in school and in college. In 2013, Antony won gold at the junior nationals and at the Inter-varsity athletic meet, he again clinched the top position.
“Then when I was in the second year of graduation, I got selection in the Air Force as an airman and since then I have been working and hence I could not complete my degree," added Antony.
Since 2019, he has been training at the NIS Patiala camp.
“I am confident that India will be able to qualify for the finals and we are doing everything towards achieving that. Our training has been going on well and we are doing our best," added Antony.
Antony said his father, a fisherman, took care of the family and right from his early days he and his younger brother, Anil Antony, have been helping their father.
“Today, our father is old and he is unable to go fishing every day… Anil goes fishing now. We all used to go together to the sea and it was a tough time, but that toughness has brought me laurels and hence am very happy," added Antony.
Their home close to the sea suffered extensive damage when strong winds blew away chunks of the tiled roof.
“Now my parents and brother have moved to a rented house and we have taken a small loan to renovate our house," said Antony.
As Antony departs for Tokyo on July 23, the tiny coastal village will pray for their son to do well. They will be glued to their television sets to see the ‘fisherman’ running, aiming to bring laurels to the country.