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Om Prakash Bhardwaj, fondly known as OP sir among his students, who was India's first Dronacharya awardee coach in boxing passed away on Friday, May 21.
Bhardwaj was 82 and had been battling prolonged illness and age-related complications. About 10 days ago, his wife had succumbed to illness, reported India Today.
"He had been unwell for many days with a lot of health issues and was hospitalised. Age was a factor and there was also the shock of losing his wife about 10 days back," said T L Gupta, a close family friend and a former boxing coach.
Bhardwaj was the national boxing coach from 1968 to 1989 and also served as a national selector for boxing matches. He was also the first chief instructor for the sport at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala.
"He started his career in the Army School of Physical Training in Pune and became an accomplished coach for Services. In 1975, when NIS came up with the proposal for coaching diplomas, in boxing, Mr Bhardwaj as picked to start the course," Gupta said.
Under his tutelage, his boxer students had won medals at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and the South Asian Games.
Gupta reminisced that the former coach often fought for better treatment of the Indian boxers. With a help of a typewriter from Russia, he wrote many letters to the authorities demanding adequate facilities for the boxers.
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