Monali Gorge had been excited to resume coaching at her Nashik coaching academy, Excel Centre, after her National core group coaching contract was renewed last month by SAI. Her fellow coach Shraddha Nalamwar remembers the excitement of her friend, to get back to training pistol shooters in a year when India was expected to bring home medals from Tokyo Games.
But Covid -19 struck the 44-year-old, as she was hospitalised for a fortnight. After 15 days she was moved to the non-Covid ward, according to former international Ashok Pandit, but succumbed to mucormycosis, the lethal fungal infection.
In compounding tragedy for the family, her father Manohar Gorhe, had lost the battle to Covid-19 a few hours earlier too. Monali is survived by her mother and older sister.
“She had recovered from Covid. But an infection in her chest remained. And she was unable to breathe. She had been taking medicines, was trying meditation and really fighting hard. But it didn’t get better,” her friend and fellow shooter Shraddha said.
From the first batch of students in Nashik in 1999, after shooting mentor the late Dr Bam settled in the town post his retirement, Monali had been guiding a bunch of female pistol shooters since 2006. She would make the National team trials and shoot for University, but it was in coaching thatshe found her calling.
Organising the sport’s infrastructure and holding tournaments at the district level meticulously, she would take up administration and help build the sport in the city.
After receiving her ISSF coaching certification from Germany, she would also serve as judge and take up her role on the state association’s managing committee. “She did an amazing job in administration and was a fine coach. We’ll miss her steady presence and passion for the sport,” senior official Sheela Kanungo, said.
Monali Gorhe would also be appointed as Sri Lanka coach for the 2016 SAFF Games, where she would hel the men’s pistol team win a bronze. Back at Nashik, she had mentored national level pistol shooters like Shreya Gawande and Manisha Rathore.
“I was with her the last 14 hours. And she was talking and she was fighting to recover,” Shraddha said.
The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) mourned Monali and her father’s death and said in a statement: “With great sorrow we inform that Ms Monali Gorhe, pistol coach of Core Group and an efficient technical official passed away today due to black fungus. It’s a tragedy that her father also died today. The shooting fraternity mourns the sad demise of a hard working human being.”