Foreign coaches under scanner, bad Asiad can lead to sacking

NEW DELHI:The Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Sports Ministry have got into a perform-or-perish mode: Non-performing athletes and coaches are in the line of fire.

Foreign coaches under scanner, bad Asiad can lead to sacking

Long and middle distance coach Nikolai Snesarev, seen in the picture with Lalita Babar, Sudha Singh and OP Jaisha, is one of the seven foreign coaches hired by SAI. With SAI demanding more accountability, all foreign coaches are going to feel the heat. file photo

Vinayak Padmadeo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 18

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Sports Ministry have got into a perform-or-perish mode: Non-performing athletes and coaches are in the line of fire.

This being the year of two major multi-sports events — the Commonwealth and Asian Games — a sharp focus has been turned on accountability. It has been decided that the coaches whose athletes don’t show improvements, or fail to perform well at the August-September Asian Games, will be shown the door.

All the National Sports Federation have been notified that the performance and accountability of the foreign coaches is a top priority. Many of the foreign coaches have contracts that run until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. A performance review is part of their contracts, but this clause has rarely been used to force the accountability issue with the coaches. But this time the authorities are keen to enforce the clause.

Changed days

“Gone are the days when coaches used to run their contract for years. This is public money and like every one of us, they (coaches) are accountable,” a source said.

This development came to light during the Annual Calendar for Training & Competition (ACTC) meeting between SAI officials and representatives of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) last week.

“We have agreed to review the performances of the foreign coaches after the Asian Games as there is a system in place now,” AFI secretary CK Valson told The Tribune on Friday.

“The coaches who perform well will be continued with. Those who cannot will have to give proper justification to stay, otherwise they would have to be let go,” Valson added.

There are seven foreign athletics coaches employed by SAI: Alexander Artsybashev (race-walking), Anatoly Fatye (combined events), Bedrose Bedrosian (horizontal jumps), Galina Bukharina (400m & relay), Iurii Minakov (shot put, discus throw), Nikolai Snesarev (long & middle distance) and Uwe Hohn (javelin throw).

Valson suggested that the performances of even the SAI coaches should be reviewed. “To be fair to SAI, they can and should review the performances of foreign coaches as they pay them top dollar,” he said. “But what about SAI’s coaches who are part of the coaching staff? Their performances should also be reviewed.”

Hiring under scrutiny

Even the recruitment of both Indian and foreign coaches is being thoroughly scrutinised by officials. Last month several coaches, nominated by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) to take up coaching positions with both senior and junior squads, were interviewed by officials at the SAI headquarters.

Chief shotgun coach Mansher Singh, high performance specialist coach for junior rifle team Suma Shirur, and high performance specialist coach for senior pistol team Samresh Jung were part of a group asked to explain their plans to enhance the training of established shooters.

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