New Delhi: Former gymnastics national coach and sports administrator Dr Darshan Kumar Tondon, who was being treated for Alzheimer's, died this morning in Faridabad.
According to Gymnastic Federation of India (GFI) sources, the 78-year-old was being treated at the Dementia Care Home in Faridabad, where he breathed his last at 5.30am.
"His last rites were performed at Lodhi Road crematorium this afternoon. We pay our tribute to the departed soul," retired Pune-based SAI gymnastics coach R N Mangla told PTI.
A great educationist, Dr Tondon was an conditioning expert and assisted the Indian cricket and football teams, Mangla added.
He was an author of books on gymnastics and first fitness expert of the Indian cricket team, then led by Sunil Gavaskar.
Dr Tondon was unmarried and held the post of executive director (academics) of National Institute of Sports, Patiala before retiring in 1997.
His health condition did not allow him to stay alone after retirement and he had to be shifted to the Old Age Home at Burdhman Hospital in Malviya Nagar.
He was the national coach as well as in-charge of the coaching camp for junior gymnasts at NIS Patiala in 1971 before accompanying the team to the 1st Asian Youth Gymnastics Championship in Tokyo. Also coached Indian gymnastics team for the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada.
Some top former Indian gymnasts who were coached by Dr Tondon were Nirbhaya Singh, Manjit Singh Gill, Daljit Inder Singh, Inderjit Singh, Nemai Kanji, Mantu Debnath, Pratap Chand Rana and Madhusudan Saha, Ambalika Mazumdar, Aarati Das, Nilima Gaul, Prabhjot Kaur, Vijay Laxmi, Manju Lata, Kumdesh Khosala and Lopa Mudra Ghosh.
Born in Delhi, Dr Tondon was a graduate from Kathmandu and passed the third ad-hoc gymnastics course from the NIS under foreign experts with Captain Bhikaji Bhonsle (Olympian 1964) and Major Patang Mohite.
A national level gymnast, Dr Tondon began his illustrious coaching career in 1968 at the NIS in Rohtak and Jaipur. The following year, he did a diploma in gymnastics at Leipzig Institute of Sports East Germany, where he also pursued masters and doctorate.
Dr Tondon was a driving force behind starting masters of sports at the NIS, Patiala and also officiated as a technical director in the Asian Games New Delhi 1981.
Before returning to NIS in 1990, Dr Tondon held the post of sports directorate of Uttar Pradesh at K D Singh Babu Stadium, Lucknow and was then promoted as regional director at the SAI Eastern Centre in Kolkata where he served from 1986-1990.