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5 former Olympians who are now coaching future stars

Shankar Narayan

In their Olympic history, India have had many athletes who have competed at the highest level and while not all have succeded, few have taken over the coaching and mentoring rold and continue to help the next generation to help what they couldn’t during their careers.

Here are 5 past Olympians who are playing a key role in shaping future Olympians:

1.PT Usha

After a decorated career that lasted just over two decades, that included 4 Olympics, between 1979 and 2000, PT Usha decided to give back to the sport that gave her so much, by opening up the PT Usha School of Athletics in Kozhikode in Kerala.

The state-of-the-art facility provides upcoming athletes with the ideal opportunity to hone their skills under the watchful eyes of the legend herself and several other top quality coaches.

The benefits of Usha's coaching have already seen in the form of Tintu Lukka, who will be going to Rio later this year to compete in her maiden Olympics.

At present 18 athletes train at the academy and it is hoped in the future, Usha and Co. help produce many champions for India.

2.Pullela Gopichand

During the course of his career, Pullela Gopichand took part in just one Olympics in the millennium edition that was held in Sydney. It wasn't the most pleasing few days for Gopichand as he bowed out in the Round of 16 stage. losing to Indonesia's Hendrawan.

However, little did one know that he was to have as big an influence away from the court as on it as after retirement Gopichand is now helping nurture and develop future stars at his academy in Hyderabad.

The academy had its proudest moment in 2012 when Saina Nehwal went on to win the bronze at the London Olympics and now 4 years later is looking for that second Indian to win yet another medal at the Games in Rio.

At present, the likes of PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth etc train at the facility and they would certainly be hoping to emulate Saina's feat in Rio in August.

3.Deepali Deshpande

Deepali Deshpande competed for India in just one Olympics at Athens in 2004 where she finished 19th in the Women's 50m Rifle 3 Position event.

However, the Mumbai-born shooter has joined Jaspal Rana into coaching the next generation now. Deshpande is currently the Junior Rifle coach and if the Asian AirGun Championships in Delhi last year was any indication, then it certainly looks like our juniors are on the right track.

4.Viren Rasquinha

Viren Rasquinha was part of India's Olympic team that went to Athens in 2004 and finished a disappointing 7th.

After 180 matches in a career spanning just over 6 years, Rasquinha decided to call it a day in hockey and enrolled into an MBA course at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad.

This move was to prove a turning point from an Indian sports point of view as after completing the course, he joined Prakash Padukone and Geet Sethi in the inception of the Olympic Gold Quest(OGQ).

The foundation has proven to be a key component in terms of helping athletes with regards to their funding and equipment expenses and at the moment, they support over 100 athletes, several of whom will be heading to Rio to compete in the Summer Games, later this August.

5.Tushar Khandekar

Hailing from Jhansi, Tushar Khandekar's brightest moment on the hockey turf came at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou when he netted the goal that helped India win the bronze medal.

After finishing his career as a player, he is part of the support staff for senior Men's team and will look to help the side win the country's 1st medal in 36 years at the Olympics in August.

Edited by Staff Editor

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