Sushil bats for personal coach over national coach in pursuit of Olympic glory

With India’s performance at the Rio Olympics last year nowhere near the standards set at the 2012 edition, there have been calls to look into what went wrong.

Published: 18th April 2017 06:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th April 2017 06:11 AM   |  A+A-

The two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar | AP

Express News Service

CHENNAI: With India’s performance at the Rio Olympics last year nowhere near the standards set at the 2012 edition, there have been calls to look into what went wrong.

London saw the nation’s athletes notch a record six medals (2 silver and 4 bronze), after which expectations were understandably high. But things didn’t go to plan, though PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik gave the nation, and it’s women, a lot to cheer about.

At a meeting held on Thursday to decide how best to prepare for the 2020 and 2024 Olympics, Sushil Kumar had some interesting suggestions for wrestling. And they have principally been agreed upon by the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

The meeting also included the likes of fellow Olympic medallists Yogeshwar Dutt, Saina Nehwal and Mary Kom.

One of the two-time Olympic medallists’ suggestions was to let individual wrestlers train with their personal coaches, as he believed that was best for the performances of the former.

“It’s my understanding that since these coaches have been with wrestlers since their early days, it would make sense to let them train together, be it during or outside of national camps. The coach knows what is the strength and weakness of his ward, and where and how he/she can improve. He’ll also know the diet requirements of the wrestler, which is a big bonus. I believe that adopting this strategy will also result in an upturn in wrestlers’ performance,” the 33-year-old told Express on Monday.

This could also mean that the wrestlers will travel with their personal coaches during events outside the country. As a result, instead of having a national coach, the squad will have a manager to look after other work.

Another idea of Sushil, according to his coach Vinod Kumar, was to bring about a change in the coaches during national camps. “Most times, when a national camp comes along, there are five coaches in-charge. There is the chief national coach, who is assisted by four others. But many times, these assistants are randomly called upon, though they do much much outside of these camps. They may not have the best akhada, or the best wrestlers training under them.

“So Sushil felt it would be better to call up coaches who have made a difference. Coaches who have popular akhada with the most wrestlers under them, or those who have churned out quality grapplers, should get a chance to be assistants. Anyway, their wards will also more or less be attending the camps, so they’ll know what is to be done with regards to these wrestlers and how to improve the overall quality,” Kumar revealed.

Some interesting changes could be in the pipeline if things go to plan. For now, we can only wait and watch.


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