Tributes have been paid by the family of a Croydon county athletics champion and father of four who had a lifelong love of fitness but died of a heart condition last year.
Anil Karpal, from Croydon, was “an incredibly loving father that always spent quality time with all four of his children no matter what,” his son, Daniel Karpal, 19, told MyLondon.
In addition to his four children Daniel, Benjamin, 17, Hannah, 15 and Joshua, 13, Anil was also a loving husband to his wife Corinne, and a father figure to his nephew Gabriel, 22.
“He had an all-inclusive personality,” Daniel added, “he made sure everyone felt extremely valued and deserving of his attention, even if it meant he only had one second to jump on the train or had to leave his shirt undone on his way to work!”
“When I was in primary school at any sort of social gathering or party where my friends and their parents were there, all the parents would be talking to other parents, but dad would end up being the ‘monster’ and play games like hide and seek all evening.
“He just always wanted to make sure that me, the family and any of our friends were okay, whether that was by playing silly games or having really impactful conversations. That’s the kind of guy he was.”
Anil died from a heart attack at home on 23 May 2020 aged just 51.
As a younger man he had been a Surrey county athletics champion, and liked to mention he beat the future Olympic javelin champion Steve Backley on several occasions.
He was also a keen cyclist, and had a lifelong love affair with weight-lifting.
Despite his passion for fitness, in 2014 Anil underwent life-saving heart surgery after a genetic heart condition led to an aortic aneurysm.
After recovering from the surgery family and friends helped Anil set up a personal home gym – a place which became incredibly meaningful for Daniel and his family.
“We didn’t just workout with him there, it was a place that allowed his children and our friends to be uplifted by his warmth and wisdom, always giving his undivided attention to every single one of us when we needed it.”
In memory of his dad, Daniel, his family, and a number of friends will be meeting once again in Anil’s home gym on the first anniversary of his death on May 23.
They plan to carry out a charity weightlifting challenge, raising money for the British Heart Foundation who are dedicated to researching and improving treatment for heart conditions in the UK.
“The aim was to raise £1000 by 13 of my friends and family cumulatively lifting 500 tons throughout the day for 10 hours at my dad’s gym with his music playlist playing in the background,” Daniel explained.
“We thought this would be a nice way to fundraise and also to remember him, as we all have great memories of the times we spent and conversations we shared while working out with him in the gym as well as outside it.”
As of Tuesday 18 May the fundraiser is now at £10,634 and you can still donate here, with all proceeds going to the British Heart Foundation.
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