SAI gives nod to six foreign athletics coaches until 2024 Olympics

Even the disciplines they would be engaged in are those where Indian athletes had shown some kind of promise at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 

Published: 06th January 2022 09:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th January 2022 09:35 AM   |  A+A-

Kamalpreet Kaur, of India, competes in the women's discus throw final at the 2020 Summer Olympics. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  Long-Term development seems to be the design. The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is set to engage six more foreign coaches until the 2024 Olympics at a combined cost of around $42000 a month. It is understood that the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has given its nod as per AFI recommendations. Even the disciplines they would be engaged in are those where Indian athletes had shown some kind of promise at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 

For AFI top officials, this is just a work-in-progress. High-Performance Director is one such area that they would want to plug to the earliest. Ideally, according to AFI, they would love to appoint an HPD in both senior and junior national camps. The HPD should visit all the National Centres of Excellence and other training centres and submit a report on what all the athletes require and what all are missing. AFI’s wishlist includes coaches in throws, 4x400m relays, middle and long-distance too. As of now, the athletes need to contend with six foreign coaches.

Kimmo Kinnunen of Finland is set to be the new coach in javelin. One of the 20 javelin throwers in the 90m club and a former world champion, Kinnunen is expected to train the national campers other than Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra, who is training under Klaus Bartonietz. Klaus’ contract was recently extended until Paris Olympics. 

After the departure of Uwe Hohn, Kinnunen will taking care of the elite throwers and with his experience, he is expected to help throwers like Rohit Yadav, Sahil Silwal, Yashvir Singh. Shivpal Singh, who has a personal best of 86.23m, is missing from the national campers’ list.

Rotational throwers like Kamalpreet Kaur and Tejinderpal Singh Toor will also get assistance from a foreign expert. German Steffen Reumann, coach who is also a bio-mechanic specialist, would join the national camp. Though Toor had a modest outing due to a hand niggle, Kamalpreet reached the discus final at the Olympics. It needs to be seen how Toor adjusts as he prefers to train with his coach Mohinder Singh Dhillon.

Tatiana Sibileva, who had earlier coached the Chinese junior and youth teams and the Turkish National team until 2021, will be the race walk coach. Race walking in Tokyo 2020 was a mixed bag for India. Racewalkers Sandeep Kumar, Manish Rawat, Bhawna Jat and Priyanka Goswami would be hoping to benefit from her training and warm up with medals at the Asian Games.

Juan Gualberto Napoles Cardenas of Cuba is the horizontal jumps coach and will be looking after jumpers like Mohammed Anees, Nirmal Sabu, U Karthik and Abdulla Aboobacker. With long jump national record holder M Sreeshankar preferring to train under his father, it needs to be seen whether AFI can persuade him to join the camp.

Josef Lisowski is the sprints and relays coach who has an impressive CV while training the Poland relay teams and can help in transition with veteran coach Galina Bukharina’s contract likely to get over after Asian Games. The AFI is looking for another relay coach.

Scott Simmons as the middle and long-distance coach would be hoping to improve the timings of athletes like PU Chitra, Lili Das, Parul Chaudhary and Avinash Sable (steeplechase). Besides training elite athletes, the coaches would be expected to train and assist the other Indian athletes during their tenure. SAI also wants the coaches to design long-term athlete development pathways, including scientific monitoring of campers. 

Meanwhile, chief national coach Radhakrishnan Nair’s remuneration has been revised to `2 lakh a month. Along with him, other national coaches to get hikes are 400m coach Rajmohan K, middle and long distance coach Renu Kohli.

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