‘Saini Saab’ is no more

Joginder Singh Saini.   | Photo Credit: UNKNOWN

Veteran athletics coach and Dronacharya awardee Joginder Singh Saini, who groomed some of India’s finest track and field stars, died here on Sunday due to age-related problems. He was 90.

Saini, who was chief National athletics coach for many years from the 1970s to 90s, was unwell for the past few days.


“I am truly sad to hear of the passing away of our colleague, my chief coach and mentor, J.S. Saini,” AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said.

“He loved athletics and contributed to the Athletics Federation of India till his last day. He was my friend, philosopher and guide and helped me immensely in my role as AFI president with his sound advice,” Sumariwalla said in his condolence message.

Born on January 1, 1930 in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, Saini was a science graduate and became an athletics coach in 1954 after completing a diploma in physical education and a course in coaching at the NIS Patiala.

He became the chief coach of the then Amateur Athletics Federation of India in 1970.

Saini received the Dronacharya Award in 1997. He was the chief coach of the Indian athletics team which won 18 medals, including eight golds, at the 1978 Asian Games.

‘Saini Saab’, as he was fondly called by the Indian athletics fraternity, was involved with coaching until 2004 and since then he became an adviser of AFI.

Illustrious wards

Some of India’s finest athletes were trained by him at NIS and National camps. Saini was the one who encouraged Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, who won an Asian Games gold in 1962, to take up the decathlon.

Legendary marathon runner Shivnath Singh was among other illustrious athletes coached by him.

“The Indian athletics fraternity will miss Mr. Saini. It is a great void, not easy to fill. My deepest condolences to his family and prayers for his soul to rest in eternal peace,” Sumariwalla said.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 6:24:55 PM |

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