It has been a whirlwind year for Shelton D’Costa, who has gone from teaching PE at Cambridge International School Dubai to representing India at international athletics events in Singapore, Sri Lanka and Australia, alongside his teaching commitments.
The 44-year-old former university star gave up competing when he became a teacher but kept in shape and last year was persuaded by a friend to join the Masters Athletics circuit – an international competition for senior athletes.
The move bore fruit almost immediately when D’Costa came third at the Indian trials with very little training, before setting a national record in Sri Lanka.
“I went back home, took a big chart out and planned my new training regime for two or three hours,” the burly six-footer said of his decision to start training properly again. “The same day I enrolled myself to a gym and started my training.
“Weight-training is crucial for throwing events like mine as there is a misconception that we throw with our hands, but really the power comes from our body. Therefore I had to do a lot of squats in order to get my legs back in shape.”
Due to the relatively small attendances at these events and limited sponsorship opportunities, athletes have to cover their own travel costs (along with all other expenses) and D’Costa was quick to pay tribute the GEMS Group, and Cambridge International School principal Craig Lamshed for assisting him.
“On my own I probably wouldn’t have even made it to Australia,” D’Costa told Sport360. “It was peak season and the tickets would have been more than my salary!
“The support I get is unbelievable and I cannot thank GEMS enough.”
D’Costa has now set his sights on is a gold medal at the World Championships and if his current rate of progress continues alongside some luck with injuries, his ambitions seem well within reach.