Covid-19 claims legendary Indian equestrian figure Col. Gulam Khan

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Colonel Gulam Mohammad Khan
Colonel Gulam Mohammad Khan (July 11, 1946-May 1, 2021)

One of India’s leading eventing riders, trainers, and officials, Asian Games medalist Colonel Gulam Mohammad Khan, has died of Covid-19 at the age of 74.

Described by many as a legend of equestrian sport in India, Khan died on Saturday, May 1 in Puna in Maharashtra state.

He was a member of the gold medal-winning eventing team at the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi, and also won individual silver, riding Goodwill. At the next Asian Games, in Seoul, he competed in both dressage and eventing and won team bronze medals in each. He was also the highest placed Indian rider individually, placing fourth in eventing and ninth in dressage.

Khan, who was born at Sathana in Nagpur on July 11, 1946, joined the Indian Military Academy in 1973. The next year he was named the academy’s best rider and was awarded Polo and Riding colours. He was captain of the ASC team from 1980 to 1990, winning six national team titles and was individual national eventing champion four times. He was also runner-up National Showjumping champion in 1988.

He received India’s prestigious Arjuna Award, for outstanding performance in sports and games, in 1984, and was also a recipient of the Vishisht Seva Medal for achieving excellence in the planning and construction of equestrian centres.

Khan also served as an international FEI judge in Jumping and Dressage.

Top Indian rider Kapilesh Bhate told the Times of India that Khan was a strict disciplinarian, and his passion was “second to none”.

“Apart from his aggressive coaching techniques on the ground, he was a very soft spoken, stylist, fit and thorough gentleman, befitting of a decorated ex-Army officer.”

Khan was still coaching students 15 days before his death, Bhate said.

 

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