October 4, 2022

Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has come down in opposition to the observe of particular person overseas coaches working with Indian wrestlers. Though 4 members of the Indian contingent – together with each medal winners Bajrang Punia and Ravi Dahiya — competing on the Tokyo Olympics have been coaching with particular person coaches, Singh, talking to ESPN, stated he was in opposition to the idea.

“There is no such thing as a drawback working with overseas coaches. We’ve labored with overseas coaches up to now too. However again then, the coach was chargeable for all of the athletes. That was the parampara (custom) that we had in Indian wrestling. It’s my particular person opinion that if we usher in a overseas coach, he needs to be somebody who takes care of two or three athletes moderately than only one athlete. Right now we will not have one coach for every athlete. Now that we now have extra wrestlers, there must be extra coaches. Ideally, we should always have two coaches for the cadets, one other two for the juniors and a minimum of three for the seniors. They need to additionally must take cost of a number of weight divisions,” Singh stated.

Singh, nevertheless, added that an exception could possibly be made for particular person instances, particularly for giant tournaments. “All our outcomes have come from Indian coaches. Even (2020 Olympic medallists) Bajrang Punia and Ravi Dahiya’s first coaches had been Indian. But when there’s a want for overseas coaches earlier than a giant match, we are going to think about it. However ideally we might need the overseas coaches to be chargeable for a number of athletes,” he stated.

What’s the rationale behind Singh’s assertion?

The phenomenon of Indian wrestlers having personal worldwide coaches is a comparatively latest one — Bajrang was maybe the primary when he started working with Shako Bentinidis in 2017. Singh’s assertion needs to be seen within the context of WFI trying to exert extra management over Indian wrestlers at the same time as an growing proportion of them have began working with particular person coaches over the previous Olympic cycle. That is additionally one other entrance within the feud between the federation and the personal our bodies that help wrestlers and that are chargeable for signing these coaches.

Whereas all Indian wrestlers have grown up with a fundamental coach, they might typically work with the nationwide coach as soon as they had been chosen to the nationwide camp. In latest instances, although, a number of Indian wrestlers have been coaching individually with their coaches and following a definite coaching programme even in the course of the nationwide camp. The WFI has been crucial of this individualised coaching, even accusing the personal coaches of mismanaging wrestlers — a cost not totally borne out by the info.

Why had been wrestlers working with personal worldwide coaches?

The principle benefit of working with a delegated full-time coach is that it has labored. Since he started working with former Georgian wrestler Bentinidis, Bajrang has loved essentially the most profitable interval of his worldwide profession — successful two World Championship medals, an Asian Video games gold medal and an Olympic bronze. Vinesh Phogat grew to become the primary Indian lady wrestler to win an Asian Video games gold medal after which a Worlds bronze underneath Hungarian Woller Akos. Dahiya, too, had been coaching with Russian Kamal Malikov for over a 12 months previous to successful a Worlds silver.

It is not simply the well-established wrestlers who’ve been working with worldwide coaches. Divya Kakran, 22, had been working with Vladimir Mestvirishvili for practically two years when she received a gold on the 2020 Asian Championships. Curiously, Mestvirishvili, a former chief coach of the Georgian nationwide group, was the primary overseas coach to have been signed by WFI. It was his arrival practically 20 years in the past that two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar had credited with bettering the requirements of Indian wrestling on the flip of the millennium.

What are the seemingly results if personal coaches are discouraged?

If athletes will now not be capable of work with personal coaches, the nationwide camp will regain its relevance. Nevertheless, it stays to be seen whether or not the coaches who work inside the nationwide camp will be capable of present the sort of coaching that’s wanted to succeed on the worldwide stage. Whereas Singh is assured they’ll, the very fact is that the majority Indian wrestlers trying to enhance their sport have chosen to work with particular person coaches.

With many of the overseas coaches’ contracts up for renewal following the conclusion of the 2020 Olympic cycle, it additionally stays to be seen whether or not the identical coaches can be keen to work with a number of athletes because the federation envisions.

What’s WFI’s plan to herald overseas coaches?

Whereas the federation has introduced in overseas coaches up to now, most appointments have been restricted owing to the time it takes for the Sports activities Authority of India (SAI) to approve appointments — one thing that is not an element when a coach is introduced on in a personal capability as is the case up to now. Even Bentinidis — the one overseas coach at the moment on the WFI’s payroll — was first introduced in by a personal physique.

Nevertheless, the very fact is that with the brand new Olympic cycle underway, the federation hasn’t but even begun the method of scouting for overseas coaches. Even the method of retaining current coaches hasn’t been seamless — two of the final three overseas coaches to have been introduced in to work with the Indian group have left previous to the completion of their contract. The method of beginning any new signings can be unlikely to happen till after the World Championships in October and even when it happens as quickly as that, it will likely be unlikely to be accomplished till 2022, with simply two years to go to the Paris Olympics.

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