With Tokyo 2020 pushed to 2021, Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Sports Authority of India (SAI) and sponsors will have to extend the contracts of foreign wrestling coaches. All the contracts of the foreign coaches were supposed to end after the Olympics. But with it getting postponed the responsible authorities will have to renew their contract to complete their ‘unfinished mission’.
WFI currently has 5 foreign coaches at its disposal courtesy SAI and national sponsors Tata Motors. But all the contracts with expert foreign coaches will finish by end of August and now it will have to extended by a year.
“We have to speak to the Sports Authority of India. They also know that these are extraordinary circumstances, so I don’t see any problem in getting an extension in contracts for them,” he told PTI. “The situation will be clear once this 21-day lockdown is complete,” he added.
While WFI will have to liaise with SAI to extend national women’s coach Andrew Cook’s contract, Tata Motors and Sporty Solutionz will be contacted for the extension of contracts of Shako Baghaditis (Bajrang Punia’s coach), Murad Gaidarov (Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia’s coach) and Kamal Malikov who is working with double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar.
The process will begin after the 21-day national lockdown to fight COVID-19 pandemic ends. WFI Secretary VN Prasood said he does not see any problem with them getting an extension as these are extraordinary conditions. With the Tokyo-bound extravaganza postponed for this year, Cook was relieved of all the worries. He said that the more time he got now, will play an important role in his training program for women wrestlers. “Time is our ally now. Now, I think more time was essential for my program to work and I am happy they postponed it. So, no mindset change on the target just more time to improve our tactics and techniques”.
If everything goes well, he is expected to return to India on April 21. He has been in constant communication with WFI and is waiting for their confirmation. Meanwhile, once the situation normalizes other foreign coaches including Shako and Greco-Roman team coach Kazarashvili will also return.
India has so far booked four Olympic berth- Ravi Dahiya (57kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Deepak Punia (86kg) and Vinesh Phogat (53kg). There are 14 places still up for grab for India.