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Former India head coach and first Dronacharya awardee in TT Bhawani Mukerji dies at 68

Kolkata, Dec 6 (UNI) Former India head coach and the first Dronacharya awardee in table tennis, Bhawani Mukerji, breathed his last at his Zirakpur residence, near Chandigarh, today.
Mukherji, 68, is survived by his wife and a son, was ailing for quite some time.
Bhawani da for scores of his friends and all top paddles of the country, who had known him personally and trained under him, was an affable personality who joined NIS, Patiala,
in the mid-seventies after obtaining diploma in coaching at NIS.
Mukherji, a widely travelled coach with the Indian teams abroad, had the ability to spot out talent and nurture them.
Mukherji did his schooling and graduation from Ajmer where his father was a medical practitioner.
Bhawani da, who had a passion for table tennis played the sport at school and college level, before taking up full-time coaching.
He was the head coach at NIS, Patiala, and became the head coach of the national team for a brief period when India did not have a foreign expert after the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
He accompanied the Indian paddlers—Soumyajit Ghosh and Ankita Das—to London Olympics and had served the cause of table tennis for 34 years before retiring from the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
As recognition for his service to the sport, the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs bestowed him with the Dronacharya Award, thus becoming the first coach to earn the recognition in table tennis.
Even after his retirement, Mukherji was coaching players regularly at the Agricultural University in Punjab until he fell ill.
Recalling his service to the sport, TTFI Secretary General M.P. Singh appreciated his contribution.
“I was saddened to learn the passing away of Bhawani da.
He was a father figure for many of his wards and they will sorely miss him. I offer my heartfelt condolences to the family,” he said.
Dhanraj Choudhary, the former Secretary General and Advisor to TTFI, conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family and remembered his deep involvement in the sport for more than three decades.
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