Karnataka Athletics Assn, sportspersons condole death of Rai

The Karnataka Athletics Association and other sportspersons have condoled the death of veteran athletics coach Purushottam Rai, who was to have received the Dronacharya award on Saturday.

The KAA, in its condolence message, described Rai as a dedicated coach who trained many national and international athletes between 1980 to 1990.

Rai died on Friday evening in Bengaluru after suffering a heart attack.

He was to have received the Dronacharya award on Saturday from President Ram Nath Kovind in the lifetime category.

The KAA noted that Rai was the third person to receive this award from Karnataka in athletics.

Earlier, N Lingappa and last year V R Beedu were the awardees, the KAA said.

Dronacharya awardee Harendra Singh, the former coach of the Indian hockey team, also mourned Rai’s death.

“Pained to hear the demise of Sh Purushottam Rai, a true & most deserving nominee of Dronacharya Award,” Singh tweeted.

Nitin Arya, a consultant for the Sports Federation, prayed that the departed soul rest in peace.

Rai began his coaching career after securing a diploma from Netaji Institute of Sports in 1974.

He coached top athletes like Olympian quarter miler Vandana Rao, heptathlete Pramila Aiyappa, Ashwini Nachappa, Murali Kuttan, M K Asha, E B Shyla, Rosa Kutty and G G Pramila.

Rai also coached the Indian team for the 1987 World Athletics Championship, the 1988 Asian Track and Field Championships and the 1999 South Asian Games.