Coach OM Nambiar, who trained the legendary PT Usha in the 1980s and ‘90s, died aged 89 on Thursday. The Athletics Federation of India condoled the death of Nambiar, who was honoured with the Dronacharya Award in 1985 and the Padma Shri earlier this year.

PT Usha took to Twitter to share a special message for her former coach. “The passing of my guru, my coach, my guiding light is going to leave a void that can never be filled. Words cannot express his contribution to my life. Anguished by the grief. Will miss you OM Nambiar sir. RIP,” she tweeted.

AFI President Adille J Sumariwalla said from Nairobi, Kenya, that the country had lost a visionary.

“Nambiar Sir’s contribution to Indian athletics can never be forgotten. He groomed PT Usha and was her coach when she finished fourth in the 400m Hurdles in the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984 and later dominated the Asian scene. On behalf of the athletics community, I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family,” he said.

Nambiar worked with the Indian Air Force from 1955 to 1970 during which time he represented Services. He completed the coaching diploma from the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports and trained the Services athletes for a while.

Later, he joined the Kerala Sports Council as a coach when he discovered PT Usha in selection trials in Thiruvananthapuram.