Former Davis Cup captain Naresh Kumar nominated for Dronacharya award

Former tennis player Naresh Kumar, who played an key role in Leander Paes' development, has been nominated for the Dronacharya Life Time Acheivement Award.

A young Leander Paes (Right) with the then India's non-playing captain Naresh Kumar (Left) during a Davis Cup match in 1991.   -  the hindu archives

It is a surprise, but a very pleasant one.

Former Davis Cup captain Naresh Kumar has been nominated for the Dronacharya Life Time Achievement Award.

The 91-year-old Naresh was mainly responsible for laying the foundation for Leander Paes emerging as the Davis Cup hero, during his captaincy till he quit after the semifinals against Australia in Chandigarh, in 1993. He kept guiding Leander till he gained a firm foothold on the world stage.

As a player, Naresh was a regular at Wimbledon, and reached the fourth round of singles in 1955. He played 17 Davis Cup ties and had Ramanathan Krishnan as his partner for most of the time.

He was brilliant with his writing and expert views, especially when the subject was Wimbledon.

C.V. Nagraj, coach of Asian Games medalists Vishnu Vardhan and Saketh Myneni, is also nominated under the life time section.

Thus, with Chandra Bhushan, the coach of the Deaflympics team that delivered a medal in mixed doubles, under the regular category, tennis has three vying for the Dronacharya award.

Dronacharya award, an elusive honour for India’s tennis coaches  

Tennis is yet to get its first Dronacharya award, since the inception of the award in 1985.

One of the seasoned tennis coaches, Nandan Bal is in the list for Dhyan Chand award, which is meant for contribution to the sport over the years. Olympian Rushmi Chakravarthi is the other tennis player among the Dhyan Chand nominations.

The Arjuna award nomination has Asian Games gold medallist Divij Sharan and the country’s No.1 woman tennis player Ankita Raina, who won the individual medal in the Asian Games in 2018. The Deaflympics tennis medallists, Prithvi Sekhar and Jafreen Shaik also have their nomination.

Shooting has a formidable line up of Manu Bhaker, Saurabh  Chaudhary, Abhishek Verma, Elavenil Valarivan, Shahzar Rizvi, Om Prakash Mitharval and Chinki Yadav vying for the Arjuna award.

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