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OM Nambiar: Legendary athlete PT Usha’s coach OM Nambiar passes away | More sports News


KOZHIKODE: Renowned athletics coach O.M Nambiar, who nurtured one of India's greatest track and field stars PT Usha, died on Thursday due to age-related illness. He was 89.
Nambiar is survived by his wife Leela, three sons and a daughter. He breathed his last at his residence in Vadakara, a coastal town in Kozhikode district.
One of the first Dronacharya Award winners and this year's Padma Shri awardee was hospitalized around a week ago, after which he was brought back home.
Usha said Nambiar, who was battling Parkinson's disease, had a heart attack 10 days ago.
She termed it a huge personal loss.
"It's a huge loss for me. He was a father figure to me and my achievements would not have been there if he was not there. I met him only last week after Neeraj (Chopra) won gold in the Olympics. He could understand what I was telling him but he could not speak," Usha told PTI.

A former Air Force man, Nambiar has turned several young talents into international athletes during his tenure as a renowned coach, including the legendary Usha, who missed a bronze medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics by one-hundredth of a second.
Usha had maintained close ties with her coach and visited him last week to inform him about javelin thrower Chopra's historic gold medal at the recently-concluded Tokyo Olympics.

Besides Usha, some of the international medal-winning athletes he coached include Shiny Wilson (four-time Olympian and 1985 Asia Championships gold winner in 800m) and Vandana Rao.
Born in Kannur in 1932, Nambiar was a fine athlete during his college days at Guruvayurappan College in Kozhikode.
He had joined the armed forces on the advice of his college principal and continued his career in athletics.
He served the Indian Air Force for 15 years and retired in 1970 as a sergeant. He completed his coaching diplomas from the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala and started training the Services athletes.
"I feel very happy for this award though it could have been many years back. Still I am happy. Better late than never," Nambiar had told PTI in an interaction from his home in Kozhikode after he was chosen for the Padma Shri.
Usha was conferred the Padma Shri in 1985 while Nambiar, presented the Dronacharya that year, had to wait for another 36 years before the nation's fourth highest civilian honour came his way.
The man, who moulded Usha into one of India's finest athletes during his mentorship from 1977 to 1990, said he couldn't stop weeping once Usha was done with that race in Los Angeles.
He got a coaching diploma from the NIS-Patiala in 1968 and joined the Kerala Sports Council in 1971. He was tasked with finding talented athletes in the state.
It was in 1977 when Usha won a race in the selection trial of a sports school at Kannur that she came under the tutelage of Nambiar.
It was also Nambiar who prepared Usha for 400m hurdles in 1984. She had been a 100m, 200m and 400m runner earlier.
Usha also won four gold medals in the 1986 Asian Games (in 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay) under the tutelage of Nambiar.

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August 19, 2021, 8:26 pm

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