Dedicating his recommendation for the Dronacharya Award (Lifetime Achievement) to the swimming community, coach Nihar Ameen said that the award meant good news for the sport in India.
“I am really thrilled. It has been a really long journey and I am happy that my hard work has paid off. I feel not only my efforts but that of the entire swimming community has been recognised,” said Ameen talking to Deccan Herald.
Ameen is among the five nominated for the highest recognition for a coach in the country. The list includes wrestling coach Anoop Singh and para-athletics coach Naval Singh for their performance from 2011-2014 while Ameen, along with Harbans Singh (athletics) and SR Singh (boxing) are recommended in the ‘Lifetime Achievement Category’ for their contribution to the sports over a period of 20 years.
The list has to be approved by the Sports Ministry to make it official. Ameen who has coached Olympians Shikha Tandon, Virdhawal Khade and Sandeep Sejwal, said that the sport would have a great future in the country now that the upcoming swimmers have role models to look up to. Both Khade and Sejwal had won Asian Games medals.
“With guys like Virdhawal and Sandeep going a long way in the sport, the new guys have role models to look up to. They can now believe that if they put in their effort, they too can make it big in the sport,” said the Bengaluru coach, who will be the first swimming coach receive the honour.
While his wards, Sandeep and Virdhawal had a disappointing outing at the recently concluded FINA World Championships, Ameen didn’t seem perturbed by it.
“For us, the Kazan meet was just about knowing were we stand. And now we can build on our performance and I am hopeful that the boys will clock the qualification mark in the coming months,” he added.