Legendary boxing coach Om Prakash Bharadwaj, the first from the discipline to be honoured with the Dronacharya award in 1985, passed away on Friday following prolonged illness and old-age issues, said a Boxing Federation of India (BFI) source. He was 82.
Bhardwaj had lost his wife about 10 days ago.
Bharadwaj, who coached the National team for several years up to the early 90s, played a crucial role in starting the boxing course at NIS Patiala in 1975.
Under his guidance, Indians won medals in major sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Asian championships and South Asian Games.
THE Former Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) secretary general Brig. (retd.) P.K.M. Raja remembered Bharadwaj as a good coach and a friendly person.
“Bharadwaj began as a physical training instructor in the Army Physical Training Corps before becoming a boxing coach.
Since Services boxers dominated the Indian boxing scene from 1970 to 1990, Bharadwaj also rose in stature as a coach and trained many medal winners.
“He also got the Best Coach in Asia award around the 1990s,” said Brig. Raja.
“As a chief instructor at NIS Patiala, he trained many well known coaches,” added Brig. Raja.
Ashok Gangopadhyay, who was the secretary general of IABF during the 1980s and worked with Bharadwaj, said, “He had good control over his voice and was good at coaching.
“Mostly he would make the boxers do hard training and get the best out of them.”
V. Devarajan, who was part of the Indian team to the South Asian Games in Colombo in 1991 with Bharadwaj as the chief coach, said, “Bharadwaj Sir was a good motivator.”
“Bharadwaj inspired a generation of boxers and coaches.
“His work as a selector was unparalleled,” said BFI president Ajay Singh.
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