Shetty's death leaves a big void
From Mumbai he had left for Bangalore to be the Chief Judge at National Veterans Athletics Championships. With a bottle of orange juice during the break, he was walking down the beaten track, but collapsed. Sprinkling of water followed and he got up. This national walking champion had just walked two steps before he collapsed and left the athletic world.
Rama, or RH (85) to the faithfuls, he had served athletes in Mumbai for nearly decades. A disciple of the late disciplinarian YA Gole, Shetty was mourned by Olympian Edward Sequeira, who recalled a Dussehra meet at Mysore when as manager, Shetty congratulated him.
He also had plenty of praise for this walking champion who was also an official of the Western India Football Association. It was only the other day when, as chief guest, Sequeira was hugged at the walking race function conducted by the Bombay Keraleeya Samaj.
For the last 48 years, Shetty has religiously officiated at RG Nair walking race of which George John was the first champion. John said that it was going to be impossible to see a walking event without RH who was jovial, yet very strict. Similar sentiments were expressed by Shashi Nair (Bombay District Athletic Association), who was the first to receive the sad news in Mumbai.