Former India athletic coach Purushotham Rai, 79, passed away with a heart attack on Friday, hours before receiving the Dronacharya Award, the highest sporting award for a coach in India.
Purushottam Rai’s name was announced for the Dronacharya awards this year and he was scheduled to take part in the virtual felicitation programme from Bengaluru. He was even present for the rehearsals of the felicitation ceremony at Vikasa Soudha scheduled on Saturday, National Sports Day.
“Sri Rai was a dedicated coach in 1980 to 90 trained many national and international athletes at Sri Kanteerava Stadium. He is the third person to receive this award from Karnataka in athletics. Earlier, Late N. Lingappa and last year V R Beedu are the awardees. Heartfelt condolence to his family, may god give his family strength to bear this great loss,” said a release from the Karnataka Athletics Association.
India lost veteran athletics coach Shri. Puroshottam Rai on Friday. Shri. Rai was to receive the Dronacharya (Lifetime) Award today at the virtual National Sports Awards ceremony. @KirenRijiju condoled his death and said, “His contribution will always be remembered.”
— Kiren Rijiju Office (@RijijuOffice) August 29, 2020
Rai was remembered for having served the Indian athletics for over two decades and building champions out of his students. Messages of condolences pouring in from athletes from across the country including Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.
Rai is not the only awardee to be missing the felicitation ceremony on Saturday. Khel Ratna awardee Vinesh Phogat and Arjuna awardee shuttler Satviksairaj Rankireddy, who tested positive for Covid-19, will also not be attending the virtual award ceremony.
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