The 74-year-old leaves office after SAI denied him a new contract.

Legendary Asian Games gold medal-winning shot-putter Bahadur Singh has resigned from the post of chief coach of Indian athletics team after 25 years as the Sports Authority of India (SAI) denied him a contract extension on the basis of age restrictions.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has applauded his contribution to the Indian athletics. Bahadur Singh’s contract ended on June 30 and it has not been renewed by the Empanel Committee of Coaches, in accordance with the sports ministry’s guidelines with the upper age for employment of coaches and support staff fixed at 70 for national camps.

As a shot putter, he won back-to-back Asian Games gold medals in Bangkok (1978) and New Delhi (1982) to add to the silver he won in Tehran (1974). He also won a medal in each of the four Asian track and field meets held in Marikina (1973), Seoul (1975), Tokyo (1979) and Tokyo (1981).

Bahadur Singh competed in the Moscow Olympics in 1980 as well. He was given the Arjuna Award in 1976 and the Dronacharya Award in 1998. He was conferred the Padma Shri in 1983.

AFI President Adille J. Sumariwalla said, “As we stay focused on our journey to being counted on the world stage, we will always remember the immense contribution Bahadur Singh made to Indian athletics, first as a shot putter of repute in the 70s and early 80s, and then as Chief Coach since February 1995.”

“We would have loved to see him helm the squad in the Olympic Games, but the COVID-19 outbreak forced the postponement of Tokyo 2020. He resigned in the wake of the Ministry of Home Affairs advisory restricting movement of senior citizens. We will continue to draw on his experience in planning and in monitoring training and coaching.”

Under Bahadur Singh’s stewardship, India did admirably in the Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi when it won a dozen athletics medals, including two gold. His finest moment as Chief Coach came in Jakarta in 2018 when India won 20 medals in track and field competition, including eight gold and nine silver.

AFI Planning and Coaching Committee Chairman Dr. Lalit K. Bhanot said, “The country’s best showing in Asian Games athletics instilled a belief in the community that with a bit more planning and effort, India could raise the bar and make a mark on the global stage. And Bahadur ji contributed to this rise.”

“He readily accepted the challenges placed before him by AFI, buying into new ideas with an open mind. Combined with his calm approach, these qualities made Bahadur ji a very successful Chief Coach,” he concluded.