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Kaushik, 1980 Olympic hockey gold medallist, loses battle to Covid (Lead)

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New Delhi, May 8 (IANS) Maharaj Krishan Kaushik, a goal scorer in India’s 1980 Olympic Games hockey gold medal win, lost battle to Covid-19 on Saturday evening at a hospital here. He was 66.

Kaushik is survived by his wife and two sons. His funeral will take place as per Covid norms, with only a couple of family members being present. Kaushik’s wife was also admitted to the same hospital, and was discharged only on Friday, said his son.

A brilliant and opportunistic player at the right-out position who formed a deadly combination with right-in Mohammed Shahid, Kaushik had been in the Intensive Care Unit of a private hospital in New Delhi for the last few days.

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On Saturday, Kaushik was the second 1980 Moscow Olympics Indian team member to pass away. Ravindra Pal Singh died of Covid-related breathing problem in Lucknow early in the day.

Kaushik, who scored a goal in India’s 4-3 win over Spain in the final of the 1980 Olympics. Wearing jersey No.10, he scored the third goal to help India to a 3-0 lead in the final, before Spain fought back and scored two goals. Forward Shahid then scored the fourth and decisive goal that gave India their first Olympic gold after 16 years. That was the last time –- 36 years ago — India won an Olympic hockey medal.

After his playing days, Kaushik became the chief coach of the Indian women’s and men’s teams. In 2002, he received the Dronacharya Award, the highest official accolade for coaches in India. Earlier, he had received the Arjuna Award, in 1998.

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Under his guidance, the Dhanraj Pillay-led Indian men’s team, won the gold medal at the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games while the national women’s team won bronze at the Doha Asian Games in 2006. He was also the assistant coach of the Indian men’s team that won gold at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

Several hockey players and administrators condoled Kaushik’s death.

“We are extremely saddened to hear the news of his passing and we extend our deepest condolences to Kaushik’s family and friends. His contribution to Indian hockey is unmatched and he will be remembered in our hearts forever,” said Hockey India president Gyanendro Ningombam.

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–IANS

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