Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lingappa , Indian Coach won immense praise for his exploits as an athlete Turns 90

BANGALORE: Some of the finest athletes produced by Karnataka -including Olympian Kenneth Powell and Asian Games medalist Satish Pillai - returned to their alma mater at the Sree Kanteerava stadium on Saturday evening to celebrate the birthday of their coach N Lingappa who turned 90.

It was an impressive and well attended party hosted by the Indo-German sports club and its coach VR Beedu next to the track where Lingappa trained and produced champions since 1955 - a routine that continues even today.

Besides Powell and Pillai, former champions DY Biredar (marathon), Uday K Prabhu (400m), Jalaja Naresh (800, 1500), PC Ponnappa (400m), Nirmala Ponnappa (100, 200m), KN Sundara Raj Setty (100, 200) and A Naresh (triple jump) too were present to greet their tutor.

"It's our privilege to be here. Most of us have trained under Lingappa sir at this stadium during different periods of time and we are thankful to him for all the help he has done to us," Pillai said.

Lingappa cut the cake even as his pupils sang 'Happy Birthday.'

Remembering the olden days, Lingappa said his love for Bangalore made him stay. "I got an appointment letter to join NIS in the late '50s as a member of the faculty, but I decided against it," he told TOI.

Despite the lack of recognition - Lingappa is yet to receive the coveted Dronacharya award - life hasn't changed much for this great ambassador of athletics.

Lingappa travels almost 30km a day to get to the stadium and train his wards and he does that without charging a rupee. "When they win medals I'm happy," he said.

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