September 5 is celebrated as Teachers Day in India. The day marks the birth anniversary of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan – India’s first Vice-President and second President. He was a celebrated academic and recipient of Bharat Ratna. He served as the Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University from 1931 to 1936. In 1936, he was named Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at the University of Oxford and was also elected a Fellow of All Souls College. Dr Radhakrishnan was felicitated with several awards including a Knighthood in 1931, the Bharat Ratna in 1954 and an honorary membership of the British Royal Order of Merit in 1963. He passed away in 1975 and since then he has been nominated 11 times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
One can have a teacher or a mentor in any field, particularly in the sporting arena. Sachin Tendulkar and Ramakant Achrekar are two of the most famed student-teacher combination known in the country. Another popular sports guru is Pullela Gopichand known to produce a conveyor belt of world-class badminton players including Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu. On the occasion of Teachers Day we take a look at some of the best coaches India has seen over the years:
Ramakant Achrekar – Sachin Tendulkar
Ramakant Achrekar is known to produce some of the best cricketing gems in the country, his students include Sachin Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli, Pravin Amre and Salil Ankola. He has been awarded the Dronacharya Award in 1990 and Padma Shri in 2010. Achrekar started playing cricket even before India’s independence. He played club cricket for Young Maharashtra XI, Gul Mohar Mills, and Mumbai Port.
Tushar Arothe – Indian Women Cricket Team
Tushar Arothe is a former Indian first-class cricketer who played for Baroda cricket team. He is the one behind the Indian women cricket team’s success. In July 2018, he resigned after his position became untenable due to alleged differences with some of the star players, who had protested against his training methods.
Pullela Gopichand – PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal
Pullela Gopichand is the second Indian after Prakash Padukone to win the All England Open Championship. He also won the national badminton championships five times in a row, from 1996 to 2001. Under his training and guidance, India has produces Olympic medallists Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu. Other popular players from his institutes are Parupalli Kashyap, Kidambi Srikanth, Gurusai Dutt and HS Prannoy.
Bishweshwar Nandi – Dipa Karmakar
Bisweswar Nandi is the mentor behind ace gymnast Dipa Karmarkar, training her for 16 years. Despite the lack of facilities, he trained her to a fourth-place finish in Rio Olympics. He has been felicitated with Dronacharya Award and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna. After Dipa’s performance in Olympics 2016, he was promoted from an assistant director’s post to deputy director in the state government’s Sports and Youth Affairs Department.
Guru Hanuman – Satpal Singh
Guru Hanuman was a legendary wrestling coach who trained many medal-winning wrestlers. His students Sudesh Kumar and Prem Nath won gold medals at the Cardiff Commonwealth Games in 1958. Other notable students, Satpal Singh and Kartar Singh won gold medals in Asian Games in 1982 and 1986, respectively. He was felicitated with the Padma Shri in 1983 and Dronacharya Award in 1987. While eight of his students were felicitated with Arjuna award. His student Satpal Singh was also the coach of Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar.
O.M. Nambiar – P.T. Usha
O.M. Nambiar coached India’s popular athlete PT Usha, who noticed her at the National School Games in 1979 and trained her throughout her career. He was awarded the Dronacharya Award in 1985.
Syed Naeemuddin – Indian Football Team
Former football player Syed Naeemuddin coached Indian football coach for several years. He also worked as the coach of the Bangladesh national football team. He was felicitated with the Dronacharya Award and Arjuna Award. Under his guidance, the Indian national team won a bronze medal at the 1970 Asian Games.