Noted athletics coach Satyanarayana, mentor of T Mariyappan, who won a gold in the Rio Paralympics last year, says being recommended for the prestigious Dronacharya Award is a recognition not for him alone but for para-athletes too.
“I am happy not only for myself, but even for my students too. It is because of their success, I have been chosen for the award,” he told PTI from Bengaluru.
Mariyappan had been recommended for the Arjuna Award a couple of days ago, which Satyanarayana said was a good thing to happen for para-athletics.
“Mariyappan’s gold in Rio brought me to the limelight. Other students of mine like H N Girisha, a silver medallist at the Paralympic Games in London recently and Varun Bhati won a bronze in the men’s high jump T-42 category in Rio, have given me a lot of cheer. I am happy that Mariyappan has been selected for the Arjuna Award, it is a boost for para-athletes,” he said.
A former 1,500-metres runner, who has taken part in international events, Satyanarayana was an administrator with
Karnataka Amateur Athletics Association (KAAA) before taking up coaching.
“I moved to coaching from administration as I felt I could not give my best. Moreover, since I thought I would be better off training and motivating athletes, I took up the job of coaching athletes. I am enjoying it and it is wonderful to work with para-athletes,” he said.
“From the days when I sold flowers in Shimoga (now Shivamoga) to taking up athletics and representing India in international meets to a coach, it has been a good journey,” he said of his humble beginnings and his subsequent role as a trainer.
“I can’t say how happy I am to be recommended for the Dronacharya award. However, it has not happened because of my hard work alone. A lot of people have been behind this. I have to be grateful to the people of Shimoga, my students and many others for the good things that have happened to me,” he said.
“The award increases my responsibility. My desire is to see Mariyappan, Girisha and Bhati train hard and win medals at the 2020 Paralympics,” he said.
Satyanarayana also said that J M Shawad, one of his trainees, had a lot of potential, and tipped him to win medals
in the future.
“I get a lot of satisfaction coaching athletes. My small help has enabled people like Girisha, Mariyappan, Bhati win medals in world-level events. I hope to continue my contribution to Indian sport, especially para-athletics,” he signed off.