Codanda Madappa Muthiah leaves a rich legacy

BENGALURU: Very often, Codanda Madappa Muthiah I would end a conversation about his career by presenting a laugh with the words I finished my career. The race really went to the champion and 87-year-old champion athlete par excellence, as he breathed for the last time on Thursday morning after a brief illness.

Born on April 30, 1932, Muthiah, five-time national decathlon champion, had a late flowering. After trying his luck in several sports such as hockey, cricket and basketball, he ventured into competitive athletics more by accident than by design.

When his father, who had a transferable job, was sent to Shimoga, Muthiah joined a university there. One afternoon, when Muthiah was going home, he passed the high jump bar on the campus where the university team was practicing.

Out of curiosity at how high he could get, Muthiah climbed up his pants and cleared the bar effortlessly, much to the spectators' surprise. As Muthiah hurried to retreat hastily, the conversation about his jump spread rapidly.

The next day, to Muthiah's surprise and amazement, the director called him to his office and offered him a place on the university team. Although he missed that particular opportunity, due to illness, he opened the doors to showcase his talent. And his talent was considerable. In his first intercollegial meeting, the individual champion emerged. After his intermission, Muthiah moved to Bangalore in 1950, where after some setbacks he joined Central College. It marked a new beginning in his athletic career.

Muthiah's inaugural trip outside the country went to Ceylon to participate in an interuniversity board meeting. He decimated the competition, winning the high jump, long jump, Triple jump and the 110m hurdles. Later, it was hardly surprising that he returned with a silver medal in Triple jump at the 1954 World University Games in Budapest, where India made its debut. Muthiah was also adjudged 'Best Athlete of Developing Countries.'

Muthiah then joined Railway in Bangalore and his career took a positive turn when he fell under the tutelage of coach Chickapapiah, who was determined to see his neighborhood as an accomplished decathlete. Muthiah did not disappoint, and in the National Athletics of 1956, he won gold with a new national record, a feat that repeated four times more trot.

The next big step was to represent the country in the Asian Games, which he did in 1958 in Tokyo, but lost a bronze by a mustache. With India not participating in the decathlon at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Muthiah's Olympic dreams ended.


With the Olympic dream over, Muthiah began training in the Sree Kanteerava Stadium . When the National Sports Institute was created, he was one of the first to join the program, so he left his job at Railway. After the course, he assumed the position of head coach at the premises of Patiala. Muthiah, a dedicated coach, said he lived some of his dreams through his apprentices such as TC Yohannan (long jump) and Vijay Singh Chauhan (decathlon), who won gold at the 1974. Tehran Asian Games. His performance He won his coach the 'Best coach in Asia' award. The same year, the Asian Athletics Association He honored him with a golden shield.


During his sports career, Muthiah did not give much importance to education, but he believed that it was never too late to make amends. He left for higher studies in Germany and in 1968 he obtained a master's degree in biomechanics and then a doctorate in cineanthropometry from Leipzig. His study was based on the chronochlographic photograph of Bob Beamon that clicked on the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico.

Upon his return home, Muthiah continued to be a dedicated coach and capable administrator and played a key role in creating the SAI, South Center in Bangalore. He was the technical director of the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi and was awarded the Asian Vashisht Jyothi. He continued at the NIS, Patiala and retired as General Director in 1990. Even after his retirement and relaxed life in Bangalore, he remained active on several advisory councils.

Muthiah leaves his wife Parvathy and daughter Roopa.