Death at National Games: Last words of netball player haunts coach

Mayuresh Pawar’s last words to him haunt his coach Satish Ingle, who spoke to the 19-year-old minutes before he died at a beach in Kerala; after losing their National Games netball match against Chandigarh, Pawar assured Ingle that they would certainly make a comeback in the next match

The last chat that Mayuresh Pawar who died on Monday after a netball match at the 35th National Games in Kerala had with his coach Satish Ingle indicated in no small measure that he was a person with a never-say-die attitude.

Also read: National Games tragedy - Entire village mourns death of netball player

“Mayuresh was not expecting a loss against Chandigarh. He was upset, but he was a fighter and would never give up easily. When I had a chat with him and consoled him, he told me the team would make a comeback in the next match. Never did we realise that these would be his last words,” said Ingle yesterday.

Sports minister Vinod Tawde received Mayuresh Pawar’s body at Mumbai yesterday. Pic/PTISports Minister Vinod Tawde received Mayuresh Pawar’s body at Mumbai yesterday. Pic/PTI

The family back home in Mayani village in Satara district cannot come to terms with his death. Mayuresh was laid to rest yesterday just four days before his 20th birthday (February 7). He was a first-year engineering student of an engineering college in Pune, and is survived by his parents and a younger brother, Akash.

Ingle, who accompanied the body to Mumbai from Kerala, said: “He was one of the best players in the team. He played in the centre position and it was his responsibility to cover the full ground. The team was disturbed after the defeat to Chandigarh.”

What happened
Recounting the tragedy, Ingle said, “On our way back to our accommodation after the match, we stopped at the Shankumugham Beach in Thiruvananthapuram. There were 28 players who were taking pictures on the beach. During the photo session, he collapsed due to exertion.

When he fell, he hit his nose and started bleeding profusely. His teammates picked him and took him to the nearby Holy Cross Hospital. Tests (ECGs, X-ray) were conducted and the doctors there suggested that we take him to Ananthapuri Hospital. By the time we reached the hospital, he was declared dead.”

Even as the police hinted the possibility of drowning, the Mumbai Suburban Netball Association does not have details of the autopsy. An association official said, “We got to know about the death last night. I was instructed to receive the body and help the player’s family in getting his body back to his village in Satara. We do not have the autopsy report with us. It is with the family.”

- Inputs from Mayuresh Palyekar

Know netball
Netball is a sport in which two teams attempt to score goals by shooting a ball through a raised goal ring. These goal rings are placed on two opposite ends of a rectangular court.

While the sport seems similar to basketball, the main difference between the two is that the player in possession of the ball cannot bounce it or run with it in netball.

Also, there are seven players per team in netball, as opposed to five in basketball, and players have to stay within their assigned third of the court during a netball game.

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