KOCHI: The spat between the Athletics Federation of India president and former javelin throw coach Garry Calvert has taken a ugly turn. Calvert in a mail to the Express said comments against him by the AFI chief Adille Sumariwalla were unfair and unprofessional.
Shortly after Calvert put in his papers after his request for an extended contract and pay hike was ignored by the AFI, Sumariwalla had said that the Aussie hadn't done much in the rise of young athlete Niraj Chopra, who won gold at the World Junior Championship with a world record.
In a statement to the Express, Calvert said he was “amazed at the unfair and unprofessional comments” and added that the 19-year-old's improvement after just five months of training was an outstanding achievement. “For a young athlete to make an improvement of four metres plus is an outstanding achievement after just five months of technique and conditioning adjustments,” he wrote.
Calvert, who now trains the Chinese national team, also alleged the AFI of meddling with Chopra's training programme and said he was forced to field the athlete in the Asian Grand Prix events despite him being in the middle of heavy conditioning training.
“My plans for my javelin group was disrupted at short notice, and in the middle of heavy conditioning training, we were required to go to three Asian Grand Prix with poor travel schedules and just a few days of recovery between competitions. Regardless, I adjusted the training programme, but at the risk of injury,” he wrote.
Sumariwalla rubbished the coach's claims and said if the latter was so serious about Chopra's performance, he should have waited for two-three months. “He had asked for a four-year contract and we told him to wait till the World Championships. His contract runs till 2018 and an extension was on cards if Chopra's performance in the worlds was going to be good. But he didn't listen. He seemed to be lacking confidence and there started the problem,” Sumariwalla said.
He also said Calvert had asked for the Asian Grand Prix competitions and on the basis of that javelin throwers including Chopra were allowed to participate. Garry countered Sumariwalla's claim. “I did not request Asian Grand Prix. I would need to be insane to force Neeraj into three competitions in seven days.”