Satyanarayana is India’s one of the renowned coaches for Para-athletes. Starting from HN Girisha, the medalist in London to the current gold medalist in Rio Olympics and silver medalist in Tokyo Paralympics, Maryappan Thangavelu-Satyanarayana has produced several international Para-athletes. He started coaching in 2011-12 and trains his students at the Kanteerava Stadium or the SAI Complex track in Bangalore.
The Hardship faced by Satyanarayana
Satyanarayana who is from Shimoga had to face severe financial crises in his childhood. His father was a flower seller. But most of the time, Satyanarayana had to do the job. Speaking over the phone from Bangalore he commented,
“I think my career began with running from shop to shop to sell flowers in Shimoga and then back home to get ready for school.”
The Successful Athlete
Satyanarayana’s career as an athlete began in 1980.
“I took up athletics because it was the most affordable sport for me. I did not need shoes or any other equipment, I only required a strong pair of legs and a big heart to continue running,” he said.
Satyanarayana specialized in cross country and long-distance running, his pet events being the 1,500 m and 5,000 m. He became a State junior champion and later a national junior champion, and set national records. He was a medallist at the World Junior Athletics Meet in Seoul in 1984 and won the Prime Minister’s Medal for the Republic Day cross-country run in 1982. He also won a medal in an international competition in Hong Kong. He decided to call it a day in 1993 when he felt that he was not being able to compete at par with new stars like Bahadur Prasad, who emerged on the Indian athletics scene in the early 1990s.
Satyanarayana: The Administrator
After retirement, Satyanarayana joined Karnataka Athletics Association (KAA) and became vice president before being elected as the secretary of the state association in 1996. Commenting on the chapter, the 57-year-old coach explained,
“In a bid to provide justice for the athletes I joined the administration.”
Satyanarayana who is also associated with the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) brought some changes in Karnataka athletics. His initiative helped abolish the participation fee for state athletes in national-level competitions and helped to create more district associations which, according to him, were managed completely by the sportspersons. Satyanarayana also conducted several national junior and senior championships in the State, besides hosting the Asian Grand Prix in Bangalore in 2006 and 2010. He also developed sports infrastructure in rural areas.-- Advertisement --
Satyanarayana’s name was recommended for the Dronacharya Award in 2017. Still, he has not yet received the prestigious award. The reason is controversial. The experienced coach admitted and clarified,
“A case was filed against me. I was alleged to be a criminal. But you cannot be termed a criminal unless the allegations are proven. So, I am simply a victim of politics. But I am truly not bothered at all. I am not at all sad about not receiving the award. The medals my students bring from competitions like the Olympics and Asian Games are the best gifts for me.”
Satyanarayana asserted that he would continue his search for new talents and groom them for the future.