Yashvir, Fernandez among coaches for Dronacharya

New Delhi: Six top coaches of the country, including London Olympic Games bronze medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt`s mentor Yashvir Singh, were today officially named for the prestigious Dronacharya Award.

Besides Yashvir, the other five who were picked by the 15-member committee for the award were athletics coach Virender Poonia, Sunil Davas (kabbadi), Harinder Singh (hockey), Dr Satyapal (parathletics), and India`s boxing coach from Cuba B I Fernandez.

JS Bhatia (Athletics), Bhawani Mukherjee (Table Tennis) were selected for Life Time Achievement award.

"Ordinarily not more than 5 Dronacharya awards could be given in any calendar year. However, taking into consideration that this is the year of Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and there has been immense contribution of coaches in the improved performance of the sportspersons, the Government has decided to increase the number of Dronacharya Awards from 5 to 8 for the current year," the Sports Ministry said in a statement.

"Taking into account the outstanding contributions of Shri BI Fernandez, Cuban Boxing Coach in the performance of the Indian Boxers in the international sports events including mega events such as Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, Dronacharya Award will also be conferred upon Shri BI Fernandez. He is the first foreign coach to receive Dronacharya Award," it added.

Among others, Virender is the husband-cum-coach of discus thrower Krishna Poonia who in 2010 became the first Indian woman individual gold medal winner in athletics in the Commonwealth Games. He was also Poonia`s coach in the just-concluded London Olympics where she finished seventh.

Harinder was the coach of the Indian hockey team for some months after Spaniard Jose Brasa was sacked following India`s poor showing in the 2010 Asian Games till Australian Michael Nobbs took charge in August 2011.

The Dronacharya Awards committee was headed by former Indian hockey captain Aslam Sher Khan. The other members include Rajkumar Sangwan (boxing), Dhanraj Pillai (hockey), Shiny Wilson (athletics), Morad Ali Khan (shooting), Karnam Malleswari (weightlifting), Bahadur Singh (athletics), Bhupender Dhawan (powerlifting), G S Sandhu (boxing), Ramphan Mann (wrestling), Prem Chand Degra (body building).

The Government also named four other former atheltes – Jagraj Singh Mann (Athletics), Gundeep Kumar (Hockey), Vinod Kumar (Wrestling) and Sukhbir Singh Tokas (Para-Sports) – for the prestigious Dhyan Chand Awards.

"Not more than three Dhyan Chand Awards are given in a particular year. However considering that 2012 is the year of Paralympic Games, the Ministry has deiced to increase the number of Dhyan Chand Awards from 3 to 4 for the current year," the statement said.

The government also named four Entities – Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB), Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) and Air India Sports Promotion Board – for the Rashtriya Khel Protsahana.

Selection Committees of Dhyan Chand Award and Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar were headed by PK Deb, Secretary (Sports).

The Award, which carries Rs five lakh and a citation and is conferred to coaches of different sports for their noteworthy contribution, will be presented by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan on August 29, the National Sports Day.