Shining track presence

Shiny Wilson’s roots may be in Kerala, but she would openly say it is Chennai that has given her everything in life.
Shiny Wilson (Illustration by Varghese Kallada)
Shiny Wilson (Illustration by Varghese Kallada)

Chennai

It is 25 years since she came to the city and now she has grown as the General Manager of Food Corporation of India but more than that she is busy with her role as athletics selector and mentor. And you will see her in many felicitation functions or as chief guest of tournaments and sports meets.
“It is not easy to combine these public functions and my job which requires a lot of time in the office,” says Shiny.
“But I like the sport and I like this city. Recently, I was away in Thiruvananthapuram for some time and I wanted to be back in Chennai fast, that’s how much I love this city,” adds Shiny. 
Born in Thodupuzha, Shiny joined the sports division at Kottayam, where she had two of India’s most celebrated athletes PT Usha and MD Valsamma as co-students and no wonder they formed an integral part of India’s relay teams for close to a decade.
Shiny joined FCI at Thiruvananthapuram but seven years later, she came to Chennai. Shiny Abraham became Shiny Wilson after she married the then swimmer and Arjuna awardee Wilson Cherian, who is the sports officer in Southern Railway, Chennai.
Shiny rates her gold in 800 metres in the Asian Track and Field Championship in 1991 at Kuala Lumpur as her best achievement. “It was not for the timing but it was achieved within one year of the birth of my daughter,” said Shiny. 
“It is very difficult to do this especially in 800 metres,” she added. Shiny had also done incredibly when she was in family way in 1989 in the Asian Track and Field Meet in New Delhi winning a silver behind PT Usha in 400 metres and gold in 800 metres which came amid high drama when the Chinese runner ahead of her was stripped of gold for doping. 
There are many such achievements but from the professional point of view, Shiny’s best was the SAF Games gold in 800 metres. “I did it in under two minutes, the first Indian woman to do so,” recounts Shiny and that mark gave her also an added incentive. “I was selected the best athlete of the meet and was presented a Maruti 1000 car,” Shiny recalled. 
She has also competed in four Olympics, which is again a record for Indian women athletes. She has also taken part in seven SAF Games for 18 gold medals. She has also participated in three Asian Games. Shiny has been a National selector for many years and the vice-president of the TNAA. Shiny was conferred the Padma Shri award in 1998.

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