Ramakrishnan Gandhi recommended for Dronacharya award

The athletics coach trained race-walkers Gurmeet Singh, Baljinder Singh and Deepmala Devi.

Ramakrishnan Gandhi (middle) has trained race-walkers Gurmeet Singh (left) and Baljinder Singh (right).   -  K. Murali Kumar

Athletics coach Ramakrishnan Gandhi was posthumously recommended for the Dronacharya Award along with seven others on Saturday.

The awards committee, chaired by national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand, also recommended veteran footballer and administrator Syed Shahid Hakim for the Dhyan Chand award for lifetime achievement, along with Sumrai Tete for hockey and Bhupinder Singh for athletics.

Gandhi, who passed away last year, had been instrumental in training race-walkers Gurmeet Singh, Baljinder Singh and Deepmala Devi. Gurmeet had become the first Indian to win gold at the Asian Race Walking Championships in Nomi, Japan last year.

Also recommended for the Dronacharya was para-athletics coach Satyanarayana, who is credited with mentoring two Indian high-jumpers at the paralympics – H. N. Girisha, who won silver at London 2012, and Thangavelu Mariyappan, who won gold in Rio last year. Mariyappan has also been recommended for an Arjuna award this year.

Veteran badminton coach Gangula Prasad, who has also been Gopichand's coach, was also recommended for the Dronacharya award. Committee sources said Gopi had offered to recuse himself and not be part of either the deliberations or the decision on Prasad, since he had himself recommended the name, but was convinced to stay put by the others on the committee.

Meanwhile, names of Sakshi Malik's coaches – Kuldeep Malik and Mandip Singh – were also discussed but both were eventually omitted for lack of any consensus on either name.

The awardees

Dronacharya:

Late. Ramakrishnan Gandhi (athletics) – Race walkers Gurmeet Singh, Baljinder Singh, Deepmala Devi.

Heeranand Katariya (kabaddi)

Satyanarayana (paralympics) – Paralympic medallists H. N. Girisha (2012), Thangavelu Mariyappan (2016).

Gangula Prasad (badminton) – Pullela Gopi Chand, Aparna Popat, Nikhil Kanetkar among others

Brij Bhushan Mohanty (boxing) – Dingko Singh, Shiva Thapa

P. A. Raphael (hockey) – A. B. Subbaiah, Sabu Varkey, Sandeep Somesh, Alin Aldrin among several others, instrumental in setting up and development of Air India Academy in Delhi

Sanjoy Chakarbarty (shooting) – Anjali Bhagwat, Suma Shirur, Gagan Narang among others

Roshan Lal (wrestling)

Dhyanchand:

Bhupendra Singh (athletics)

Syed Shahid Hakim (football) – 1960 Olympics, former FIFA official and referee

Sumarai Tete (hockey) – Champions Challenge 2002 bronze, Commonwealth Games 2002 gold.