India’s first Dronacharya awardee and athletics coach OM Nambiar (89) passed away at his residence in Maniyoor, Vadakara on Thursday evening. He was ailing for the past couple of years after suffering from a stroke. This year he was bestowed with the Padma Shri, country’s highest civilian honour. Coach Nambiar’s most famous trainee was Usha. The duo started their athletics career in the late 1970s and continued till 200 when Usha retired.
Nambiar was born in 1939 in2 Kannur and was a champion during his college days at Guruvayurappan College in Kozhikode before joining the Indian Air Force which he served for 15 years from 1955 to 1970 and represented the Services in sports meets.
His first trainees were from Services after completing a coaching diploma from the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala.
The passing of my guru, my coach, my guiding light is going to leave a void that can never be filled. Words cannot express his contribution to my life. Anguished by the grief. Will miss you OM Nambiar sir. RIP 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/01ia2KRWHO
— P.T. USHA (@PTUshaOfficial) August 19, 2021
Later, he joined the Kerala State Sports Council as a coach when he discovered PT Usha in a selection trials at Kannur.From 1977 to 1999 till, Usha hanged her spikes forever, Nambair was the coach. It is well known that Nambiar was crestfallen when Usha missed the women’s 400m hurdles bronze medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games by 1/100th of a second.
Usha tweeted: The passing of my guru, my coach, my guiding light is going to leave a void that can never be filled. Words cannot express his contribution to my life. Anguished by the grief. Will miss you OM Nambiar sir. RIP.
Adille J. Sumariwalla, president of Athletics Federation of India, who is in Nairobi with the Indian team competing in the World Athletics Under-20 Championships said: “Country had lost a visionary. Nambiar Sir’s contribution to Indian athletics can never be forgotten. He groomed PT Usha and was her coach when she finished fourth in the 400m Hurdles in the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984 and later dominated the Asian scene. On behalf of the athletics community, I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family.”
Earlier he tweeted also. “Sad to inform that Dronacharya Awardee coach OM Nambiar sir passed away a while back. He was coach of @PTUshaOfficial RIP Nambiar Sir, You gave us the Golden Girl. Your contribution to sports in India has been tremendous. Our condolences to the family- AFI President @Adille1.”
Several leaders including the CM, Speaker, ministers and the Opposition leaders condoled the death.