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Veteran athletics coach Purushottam Rai dies at 79..


Deepesh Sharma   

New Delhi, Aug 29 (HS) : Veteran athletics coach Purshottam Rai died due to a cardiac arrest on Friday, just a day before he was to be conferred with the prestigious Dronacharya Award. Purushottam Rai was 79 years old.

"He took part in the rehearsal for the National Sports Awards but later suffered a heart attack and passed away," a top Athletics Federation of India official said.
The National Sports Awards ceremony will be held virtually on Saturday due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rai was to receive the Dronacharya Award from President Ram Nath Kovind in the lifetime achievement category.

Purushottam Rai coached top athletes such as Olympian quartermiler Vandana Rao, heptathlete Pramila Aiyappa, Ashwini Nachappa, Murali Kuttan, M K Asha, E B Shyla, Rosa Kutty and G G Pramila. He retired from the post of Sports Authority of India (SAI) coach in 2001.Rai began his coaching career after securing a diploma from Netaji Institute of Sports in 1974.

"It is a tragic incident and we at AFI are shocked. He spent his whole life for athletics and he made immense contributions to Indian athletics. We condole his tragic demise and express our condolences to his family," said AFI president Adille Sumariwalla.

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday condoled his death. Rijiju tweeted, "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. His contribution will always be remembered."

Hindusthan Samachar