Jude Felix: To win Arjuna as player and Dronacharya as coach is a dream

Jude Felix, who had won the Arjuna Award as a player 26 years ago, is keen to coach the Indian hockey team, senior or junior, and not rest on his laurels.

Twenty six years after he won the Arjuna Award, Jude Felix has added the Dronacharya Award to his impressive resume.   -  FILE PHOTO/K. KEERTHIVASAN

 

Twenty six years after he won the Arjuna Award, Jude Felix has added the Dronacharya Award to his impressive resume. With a sweet double under his belt, the former Indian hockey team captain is a content man.

“To win the Arjuna Award as a player, and a Dronacharya Award as a coach — it is every sportsperson’s dream. This is a reward for all the sacrifices I’ve made throughout my life,” Felix told Sportstar.

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Among his notable coaching achievements was serving as assistant coach for the senior India teams which won gold at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, and silver at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. A few years later, Felix donned the role of head coach of the junior national team.

“I was with the senior team, with Terry Walsh as head coach, for a short but successful period. As for my stint with the junior team, I’m proud that I helped in the transition of many players from that team to the senior India side,” Felix said.

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Felix also does his bit for society, through the Jude Felix Hockey Academy (JFHA), a non-profit organisation which promotes hockey among underprivileged children.

Felix is not ready to rest on his laurels yet. “I’m elated, but this is just the beginning. In my time as an India player, I was most disappointed that I could not win any big medal. Now I want to set that right, by winning medals for my country as a coach. I would absolutely love to coach the Indian team, senior or junior,” Felix said.

Aditi Ashok — first woman golfer for Arjuna since 1987

Aditi Ashok became the first woman golfer to win the Arjuna Award since 1987, when Nonita Lall received the honour. The 22-year-old Bengaluru golfer, the lone Indian with an LPGA Tour card, stated, “It’s immensely gratifying to be conferred with the Arjuna Award, and I’d like to thank the Sports Ministry of India for this national honour. This recognition will definitely motivate me to work harder to excel at the highest level. Historically, male golfers have won the award more often, so it’s great to be a woman golfer getting this recognition. Hopefully, it will help to grow women’s golf in India.”

Remembering Rai

The Dronacharya Award (lifetime category) has been a long time coming for experienced track and field coach Purushotham Rai, who turned 79 a couple of months ago. Rai has coached several international athletes like Ashwini Nachappa, Murali Kuttan, M.K. Asha and G.G. Pramila, during the course of his coaching career which started in 1974. Rai joined the Department of Youth Empowerment & Sports (DYES) here as coach in 1981, before moving to Sports Authority of India (SAI) in 1987. He continued to coach at SAI (Southern Centre) until his retirement in 2001. He then continued his coaching career with school and college athletes at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here until 2015.