Former India coach Bhawani Mukherji passes away

Mukherji was the first Dronacharya awardee in table tennis. He is survived by his wife and son.

Bhawani Mukherji (right) receiving the Dronacharya award from Pranab Mukherjee, the then President of India, in August, 2012.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

Former India table tennis head coach Bhawani Mukherji died of an unspecified stomach ailment here on Friday. Mukherji, 68, is survived by his wife and a son.

“He was suffering from a stomach ailment and passed away at his residence,” TTFI secretary general, MP Singh told PTI.

Mukherji, the first Dronacharya awardee in table tennis, did his schooling and graduation from Ajmer where his father was a medical practitioner. He joined the National Institute of Sports (NIS) Patiala in the mid-1970s after obtaining diploma in coaching.

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He was the head coach at NIS Patiala and became the head coach of the national team for a brief period after the 2010 Commonwealth Games. He accompanied the Indian paddlers, including Soumyajit Ghosh and Ankita Das, to the London Olympics and had served the cause of table tennis for 34 years before retiring from the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

He was bestowed with the Dronacharya Award in 2012.

“I was saddened to learn the passing away of Bhawani da. He was a father figure for many of his wards and they will sorely miss him. I offer my heartfelt condolences to the family,” Singh said.