Olympics 2021: India set to retain foreign coaches
NEW DELHI: Their stints were supposed to wind up after the Olympics this year but with the mega-event postponed till 2021, several foreign coaches training Indian athletes for Tokyo are set for extended tenures as they seek to complete their “unfinished mission”.
Whether it’s women’s wrestling coach Andrew Cook, shooting’s celebrated pistol coach Pavel Smirnov, boxing’s duo of Santiago Nieva and Rafaelle Bergamasco or athletics’ high performance director Volker Herrmann, their contracts were to end after the Games.
But the Games will have to wait for a year thanks to the raging COVID-19 pandemic. This translates into contract extension for India’s coaching imports in the “interest of continuity” and the process will be initiated once the national lockdown to combat the pandemic comes to an end.
“It’s the Sports Authority of India (SAI) which pays their salaries. We have to speak with them…They also know that these are extraordinary circumstances, so I don’t see any problem in getting extension in contracts for them,” Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Secretary VN Prasood told PTI.
The WFI had roped in American Cook for women wrestlers and Georgian Temo Gabishvili for the Greco-Roman grapplers. Recently, the WFI had also taken the celebrated Bajrang Punia’s Georgian coach Shako Bentinidis under its wings. “The situation will be clear once this 21-day lockdown is complete,” Prasood added.
The national governing body of shooting — NRAI — also does not foresee any problem in getting longer contracts for Smirnov and rifle coach Oleg Mikahilov. Their tenures were to end in August this year as the Olympics was scheduled from July 24 to August 9. - PTI