Indian athletics’ high performance director Volker Herrmann steps down

The German stated his inability to meet his 'self-imposed expectations' as the reason behind his decision.

By Naveen Peter ·

The high performance director of the Indian athletics team, Volker Herrmann, has quit only days after charting the path towards Tokyo Olympics next year.

The German took to Facebook to announce his resignation stating his inability to meet the 'self-imposed expectations' as a reason behind the move.

The 34-year-old Herrmann was appointed in 2019 by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI). He was the second person to assume this role after the 1968 Olympian Derek Boosey of the USA held the post for a brief period ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Volker Herrmann was first appointed to serve as the high performance director of the Indian athletics team till the Tokyo Olympics. 

But with the Games postponed by a year, the sports ministry had offered Volker Herrmann a contract extension till the 2024 Paris Olympics. The German, however, had refused to sign the new deal.

“After one and a half fruitful and inspiring years in India, the day has come when I could not any longer meet the self-imposed expectations coming along with the role of AFI’s high-performance director, which is why I resigned from my position three weeks ago,” Volker Herrmann revealed in his Facebook post.

No problem with AFI and SAI

Admitting that his stint in India had ‘enriched his life and made looking back on his time on a very positive note’, Volker Herrmann stated that athletics in India could reach greater heights with the collective support of all the stakeholders involved. 

“I believe that athletics in India has a great future ahead of it. It requires a conducive and likewise sustainable infrastructure to support its countless talented athletes and coaches. It also needs players with a strong, confident, and independent mindset to succeed at the world stage,” Herrmann said. 

Speaking to PTI, an AFI source said that the federation tried to persuade Volker Herrmann to extend his stay at least till the Tokyo Games next year. But the German had already made up his mind. 

“He did not give any reason. He wanted to leave and go back (home)... Otherwise, there is no problem between him and the AFI and the Sports Authority of India,” the source said.

Under his watch, Indian athletics had been making steady progress over the past year with Volker Herrmann paying emphasis on improving the standard of coaches in the country. 

Early in October, Herrmann was busy preparing the way ahead for Indian athletics with the Tokyo Olympics as the primary focus.  His departure thus came as a surprise.