Asiad gold medallist Col GM Khan dies at 75

Col Khan was a member of the team that won the gold medal in eventing at the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi. He gained the individual silver medal riding Goodwill. He was honoured with an Arjuna award in 1984.

THE 1982 Asian Games gold medallist in equestrian and Arjuna awardee Col Gulam Mohammad Khan (retd) died on May 1 in Pune. He was 75.

The prolific rider settled down in Pune after retirement and ran his own riding school, The Ride to Live Academy, which has produced fine equestrian athletes.

Sanyogeeta Limaye, a 27-year-old equestrian rider and trainer, said she started training under Col Khan when she was a young girl. Her brother Indrajeet Kadu and husband Ashish Limaye too trained at Col Khan’s riding school.

“He was a great coach and many have chosen equestrian sports as their profession because of him. We have stayed in touch for almost 15 years now. He turned my life around completely, my career and I am where I am because of him. When we started to compete professionally at bigger events, he was always there for moral support. He was the only person to believe in us and we are going to feel his absence more than anything,” she said.

Col Khan was a member of the team that won the gold medal in eventing at the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi. He gained the individual silver medal riding Goodwill. He was honoured with an Arjuna award in 1984.

Four years later, at the Asian Games in Seoul, Col Khan was a member of the dressage and eventing teams, winning bronze medals on both. He was fourth in the eventing and ninth in the dressage event.

Amid his other notable achievements is the win at the Six Bar competition in 1986 and securing second position at the National Show Jumping in 1988.

Col Khan joined Indian Military Academy in 1973 and was judged Best Rider of the Academy and awarded polo and riding colours. Between 1980 and 1990, he captained the team of Army Service Corps. During this decade, the team won the national title six times and Col Khan became individual national champion (eventing) four times.

“I have known him since 1975 and we have been close friends. We have worked together, we were in the same corps and were together in Equestrian Federation of India. He was a simple, hard working person, who never complained. He was a self-made man, who started riding after joining the Army and finished his equestrian course in 1978. Four years later, he won the gold and silver in the 1982 Asian Games. He has helped many boys and girls enter equestrian sports and they all adore him. His close friends called him ‘Chacha’, and that is how I have always addressed him since 1977. He would work on the horses himself, including grooming and saddling,” said Col S K Dagar.

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