KOCHI: Over the last six months, life had been tough for javelin thrower Davinder Singh. Shunted out of the national camp because he chose not to train with Australian coach Garry Calvert at Bengaluru, the 29-year-old was forced to arrange own accommodation outside Patiala NIS, where he trained under young coach Kashinath Naik.
Out of the national camp, Davinder had to arrange everything, from diet to stay. For dissenting voices, that’s the punishment meted out by the big bosses in the Athletics Federation of India!
To face such a situation and deal with it adequately demands nerves of steel. Davinder showed that in plenty. Employed with Indian Army, he worked hard under Naik with whom he has been training since 2013.
On Sunday in Patiala at the first leg of the Indian Grand Prix, the Punjab athlete hurled the spear to 84.57m to earn a quota for the World Athletics Championship in London in August. He crossed the cut-off mark of 83m in his fourth attempt. In the next, he improved to 84.57m to finish top of podium.
Davinder is the second Indian javelin thrower to make it to the World Championship. Neeraj Chopra made the cut during the Asian Grand Prix series last month.
Naik, also an army man, said Davinder’s decision to stick with him proved sensible. “He and women’s national record holder Annu Rani came to me together. Their performance has improved since. Being associated with him for so long, I know his strengths and weaknesses.
“I can gauge micro errors in his technique because I know him inside out. But when he was included in the Bengaluru SAI camp, he didn’t go there. He chose to stay with me. He was thrown out of the camp. He had no other option but to stay out and train with me,” Naik said.
Though Davinder didn’t talk, sources said life has been tough ever since he was asked to leave the camp. “With his salary, he has to look after family and training,” said another athlete. Davinder should hope to make it back to the national camp after this. The ball is in the AFI’s court.