New Delhi: Former shooting coach Tibor Gonczol, who is credited with mentoring some of the India top shooters, passed away in Australia. He was 80.
Born Jan 19, 1933, in Hungary, Tibor represented his country of birth from 1952 to 1955. In 1957, he settled in Australia and represented the Australian shooting team at many international competitions, including the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. In 1973, Tibor sharted his coaching career.
Tibor had a 12-year-stint with Indian shooting that lasted from 1991 and 2002. His contract was not renewed by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) due to his old age.
India`s top shooters Samresh Jung, Jaspal Rana, Anjali Bhagwat, Suma Shirur were all coached by Tibor.
Pistol shooter Samresh, who is an officer in the CRPF, decided to dedicate his "Best Athlete Award" in 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games to Tibor. Samresh had won five gold medals in Melbourne.
Even after Tibor left India, Samresh was always in touch with him.
"It`s a very big loss to shooting sport and personally to me, Tibor was the man who did everything for Indian shooting. It is because of him that the sport has reached where it is. Most of us owe our success to him," said Samresh.
In 2006, Jaspal Rana even asked the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) and SAI to re-appoint Tibor.
The Australian was influential in laying the strong foundation of Indian shooting. He also roped in rifle coach Laszlo Szucsak, who proved to be the key force behind the success of Indian rifle shooters.
"We have lost an important member of our shooting fraternity who took shooting sport to a different level for many of us," said Csaba Gyorik, Hungarian pistol coach, who also had a stint with Indian shooters.