Ramakrishnan Gandhi, who passed away last year, was posthumously recommended for the prestigious Dronacharya award along with 2016 Rio Paralympics gold-medallist Mariyappan Thangavelu’s mentor Satyanarayana on Saturday.
Gandhi had trained Gurmeet Singh who became the first Indian to win a gold medal at the Asian Race Walking Championships in Naomi, Japan in 2016.
Baljinder Singh, who had won a bronze in the same 20 km walk event in Naomi, also trained under Gandhi along with Deepmala Devi, the Manipuri race walker.
Gandhi, who had been a part of Indian athletics as coach for over a decade, passed away in 2016 at the age of 55. At the time of his death, his relationship with the Athletics Federation of India was not at its best due to his omission from the Rio contingent.
Satyanarayana has had coached para-athlete Mariyappan since 2015, who won gold medal in high jump in Rio.
Mariyappan’s name has been recommended for the Arjuna awards recently.
The third name recommended for the Dronacharya is that of kabbadi coach Heeranand Kataria.
Names of Sakshi Malik’s coaches Kuldeep Malik and Mandip Singh were also under discussion but the committee eventually dropped both since consensus could not be reached about their potential recommendation.
Complete list of awardees:
Dronacharya awardees: Late Ramakrishnan Gandhi [athletics], Heera Nand Kataria [kabaddi] and Satyanarayana [para athlete].
Lifetime achievement awardees: GSSV Prasad [badminton], Brij Bhushan Mohanty [boxing], P A Raphel [hockey], Sanjay Chakravathy [shooting] and Roshan Lal [wrestling].
Dhyanchand awardees: Bhupender Singh [athletics], Syed Shahid Hakim [football] and Sumarai Tete [hockey].