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Mexican embassy finds Indian kids who participated in painting festival in 1968, Summer Olympics

Mexican embassy finds Indian kids who participated in painting festival in 1968, Summer Olympics
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Siblings Dr Leela Sudhkaran Kamath and Suresh Sudhakaran, who were 8 and 9 at the time, came forward after their family members recognised her name in...

Siblings Dr Leela Sudhkaran Kamath and Suresh Sudhakaran, who were 8 and 9 at the time, came forward after their family members recognised her name in a black and white photograph of a newspaper. The search of the Mexican embassy for the children participated in the Summer Olympics had not gone in vain.

“I couldn’t have been more surprised. I’ve had calls from friends and family all over the country. Everyone knows I have lived there,” said Kamath, a professor and HoD in neonatology, MOSC Medical College, Kolenchery, Kochi. She is 58 year old now and her brother Suresh, 59, is an accountant in Dubai.

They lived in Mexico City between 1966 and 1970, where their father, Indian Foreign Service Official, was posted with the Indian Embassy in Mexico City. Kamath recalled, “I was barely eight at the time. Everybody was on holiday and there was no school at the time. From a child’s perspective, it was a big picnic.”

The siblings had attended the Olympic games inauguration and numerous sporting events, which includes matches of the Indian men’s hockey team. Sudhakaran said, “Nothing else has come close to that month of Olympics in my life. Mural painting was just one of many activities for children. It was a really exciting event.”

“The murals were put up in a major park in Mexico City after the Olympic Games were over and exhibited for weeks. When I found out that they were trying to find the people, who made it I was taken aback. After all, it has been half a century,” said Kamath. She shared the news reports of the painting festival with her 94 year old father and 83 year old mother.

The siblings left Mexico in 1970, when their father got posted to the Port of Spain in Trinidad. About their time in Mexico, Kamath said, “We spent the best years of our lives there. It was an out of the world experience and it is rare to get such an opportunity even today.”

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