Athletics coach Purushotham Rai, due to receive the Dronacharya Award on Saturday, passes away

Rai was due to receive the Dronacharya Award (lifetime category) from President Ram Nath Kovind in a virtual ceremony on Saturday. He was 79.

Track and field coach Purushotham Rai, who only a few days ago was selected for the Dronacharya Award (lifetime category), passed away on Friday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Track and field coach Purushotham Rai, who only a few days ago was selected for the Dronacharya Award (lifetime category), passed away due to a heart attack here on Friday. He was 79.

Rai was due to receive the prestigious award from President Ram Nath Kovind in a virtual ceremony on Saturday.

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After graduating with a diploma in athletics from Netaji Institute of Sports in 1974, Rai began his long and successful coaching career. He trained international athletes like Ashwini Nachappa, Murali Kuttan, M.K. Asha, E.B. Shyla, Rosa
Kutty and G.G. Pramila. He accompanied the Indian team as coach for the 1987 World Athletics Championship, 1988 Asian Track and Field Championships and 1999 SAF Games.

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Rai served as coach at Services, Department of Youth Empowerment & Sports (DYES), and Sports Authority of India (SAI). After retiring from SAI (Southern Centre) in 2001, he continued to train young athletes at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here until 2015.

Karnataka Athletics Association (KAA) condoled his demise.