Nikolai Snesarev makes a return to coach India’s long-distance runners for Tokyo 2020

He makes a return to the country, two years after resigning from his post

By Samrat Chakraborty ·

Renowned middle and long-distance running coach Nikolai Snesarev is set to return to India to coach the country’s long-distance runners.

He will train India’s medal hopefuls for the Tokyo Olympics in the long-distance events. The Belarusian coach will focus on India’s leading steeplechaser Avinash Sable, who has already qualified for Tokyo 2020.

Snesarev was coaching Indian athletes till about two years ago, in February 2019, when he decided to end his association with the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) in acrimonious circumstances.

The AFI had approached the Sports Authority of India (SAI) for clearance which has been provisionally granted.

“I am not sure of the timeline but we have asked to bring him as soon as possible. We have got approval from SAI. Now, we just have to finish the paper work, because they have to go through the External Affairs and Home Ministry," AFI President Adille Sumariwalla to Olympic Channel.

"Presently, (he will be training) only the Olympic probables, he will be focusing on that," Sumariwalla added.

Snesarev will be appointed till the end of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Sable was a point of discussion behind Snesarev’s earlier exit. The 72-year-old wanted to focus on the 3000m steeplechaser who, instead, opted to go back to his Army coach Amish Kumar. That was one of the key reasons behind Snesarev’s decision to end his India stint back then.

However, with Sable now willing to train under the veteran coach, Snesarev has decided to bury his differences with the AFI and will soon fly into the country to oversee India’s long-distance runners.

Avinash Sable has qualified for Tokyo 2020 in the 3000m steeplechase event 

Sable had qualified for the 3000m steeplechase at Tokyo 2020 with a time of 8:21.37 in the Athletics World Championship final in Doha in 2019 that saw him finish 13th. The Olympic cut-off was 8:22.00.

The veteran coach has a reputation of being a hard taskmaster and has coached some of India’s finest long-distance runners like Preeja Sreedharan, OP Jaisha, Sudha Singh and Lalita Babbar.