Veteran sports administrator G. Lakshmanan passes away

G. Lakshmanan (94), one of the country’s prominent sports administrators and a former sports officer of Southern Railway, passed away here on Tuesday after a prolonged illness.

He is survived by his wife, three daughters, and two sons.

Lakshmanan, a 1,500m National champion, had accompanied the Indian athletics team as the manager for the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

He held various positions in the Athletics Federation of India (it was earlier called Amateur Athletics Federation of India, AAFI), Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Tamil Nadu Olympic Association (TNOA), and Tamil Nadu Athletics Association (TNAA).

He was the senior vice-president of the AAFI, and the General Secretary of the TNAA for 19 years.

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Lakshmanan was the technical director for the Asian Games held in Delhi in 1982. He was also the vice-President of TNOA where he accompanied the Tamil Nadu contingent as chef-de-mission in the National Games in 1989 and 2011.

A qualified NIS (Patiala) athletics coach, Lakshmanan recruited sportspersons for jobs at Southern Railway. Some of them tasted success in international events; Anand Natarajan (South Asian Games, 100m), Subramanian Perumal (1980 Moscow Olympics, 200m), R. Gnanasekaran (1978 Asian championship, 200m gold medallist), N. Annavi (World Indoor Games, 1985), Angel Mary Joseph (1978 Asian Games, silver in long jump and heptathlon) and M.D. Valsamma (1982 Asian Games, 400m H gold) among others.

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He was also the joint Secretary of AAFI and vice-president of IOA. He was the Technical Committee Chairman for the 1995 SAF Games held in Chennai.

V. Baskaran, the former Senior Sports Officer of Southern Railway, said Lakshmanan was a name to reckon with in sports administration in the country. “He was a good administrator, was instrumental in getting AAFI affiliated to the Asian Athletics Federation. He was responsible for putting Railways into the world map,” he said.

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