India to extend foreign coaches’ contracts

Foreign coaches across different disciplines are set for contract extensions from the Sports Authority of India (SAI) following postponement of Tokyo Games.

India will retain the services of the foreign coaches that are training their athletes for at least another year after the Tokyo Olympics were postponed.

Their stints were initially supposed to end after the Olympics this year, but the postponement of sports’ showpiece event due to the COVID-19 pandemic meant that they would extend their respective tenures with the view of completing “unfinished business.”

“It’s the Sports Authority of India (SAI) which pays their salaries. We have to speak with them...They also know that these are extraordinary circumstances, so I don’t see any problem in getting extensions in contracts for them,” Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Secretary VN Prasood told the Press Trust of India.

Graham Reid has begun the planning process for the Tokyo Games in July next year. Photo: Hockey India
Graham Reid has begun the planning process for the Tokyo Games in July next year. Photo: Hockey IndiaGraham Reid has begun the planning process for the Tokyo Games in July next year. Photo: Hockey India

Contract extensions likely next month

The WFI had hired Andrew Cook for women wrestlers and Georgian Temo Gabishvili for the Greco-Roman grapplers, and their secretary VN Prasood insisted that the situation will be more clear by the end of India’s 21-day lockdown, which was implemented by the government to combat the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Other coaches from different sporting disciplines that find themselves in a similar position like Andrew Cook and Georgian Temo Gabishvili include shooting’s pistol coach Pavel Smirnov, boxing’s duo of Santiago Nieva and Rafaelle Bergamasco and athletics’ high-performance director Volker Herrmann.

A top Boxing Federation of India (BFI) official informed that all foreign coaches associated with them will get contract extensions given that an unprecedented nine Indian pugilists made the Tokyo cut at the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers earlier this month.

Indian Athletics Federation president Adille Sumariwalla, meanwhile, had a succinct response to PTI’s query on Volker Herrmann’s contract extension, affirming while adding “It is common sense.”

Hockey India’s CEO Elena Norman also admitted that they had put in a plea with SAI, hoping for a longer stay for men’s coach Graham Reid and women’s in-charge Sjoerd Marijne.

“We have sent a request to SAI to extend the contracts of all support staff associated with both men’s and women’s teams, including foreign coaches,” Elena Norman said.

“We have spoken to all the foreign coaches and they have assured us that they are all committed to their jobs till the Tokyo Games,” she added.

Almost 80 Indians have already qualified for the Tokyo Games and that number is expected to increase once the qualifying events resume.

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