Abhishek Vani

Babykutty, Press Release: Abhishek Vani, National Referee and a FIBA level 1 Coach from Thiruvananthapuram went missing from Kovalam beach on Saturday along with four others. The body of Anoop Giri (21), a native of Varkala and a hotel management student in Bengaluru, was recovered in the early hours of Sunday. Joint search operations by the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Enforcement and coastal police were on, till Monday. There is still no information regarding the other four including Abhishek.

The five youngsters went for a swim when the sea was rough. They were initially asked to keep off the sea by lifeguards on the beach but they went ahead with the plan. Two of the youngsters were hit by high waves and the other three, while attempting to rescue them, were also carried off by the waves. According to preliminary reports Abhishek also was an victim who went to save others.

Abhishek Vani officiating during the Kerala Youth State Basketball Championship in Idukki.

Abhishek Vani officiating during the Kerala Youth State Basketball Championship in Idukki.

Abhishek started his basketball career under Mrs Sam Joseph at Vettukad and went on to represent the Thriuvananthapuram District team at the youth (U16) Level, before turning in to an coach and a referee. He coached several district teams of Thiruvananthapurm District and is now coaching at the Carmel School and also at Vellayani Poonkulm  Engineering college. For the last few weeks he was also training the Madras Regiment Team at Pangode Military camp in Thiruvananthapuram.

Abhishek was one of the best upcoming BFI A Referees from the State and officiated some of the important matches at the recently concluded National Games championship held at Kannur. Incidentally, on Saturday morning Doordarshan re-telecast one match he officiated between Punjab vs Haryana. Abhishek successfully completed his FIBA Level 1 certificate Course in Kochi last December under FIBA Instructor Nelson Isley from USA. He was the topper out of the 29 who attended the course from different states.

We pray for his safe return and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.

Gopalakrishnan R
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