Tokyo-bound Indian wrestlers will have their personal foreign coaches by their side in the build-up to the Olympics, as they prepare for the upcoming 2021 Asian Wrestling Championships that begins on Tuesday. However, Sonam Malik will skip the event owing to a knee injury she suffered recently.
So far six wrestlers have qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, with the contingent having a possibility to inflate further. With five of the above lot set to feature in the upcoming Asian Wrestling Championships, in Almaty, Uzbekistan, this week, the TOPS (Top Olympic Podium Scheme) has sanctioned the allowance of their foreign coaches to travel along with them in the build-up to the mega event.
Ravki Kumar Dahiya (Men’s 57 kg) will have the likes of his personal coach Kamal Malikov beside him, while Deepak Punia (65 kg) will be training under Murad Gaidarov. New entrants - Anshu Malik and Sonam have also been sanctioned foreign coaches, even though Sonam will skip the Asian meet owing to injury issues.
Meanwhile, Vinesh Phogt and Bajrang Punia, two of India’s brightest medal prospects had already been allowed to train under personal coaches. However, the personal foreign coaches won’t be allowed to interfere in the training of the official coach during national camps.
“Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat have already been allowed to train under their personal foreign coaches and the federation has already sanctioned a similar permission to Sonam and Anshu too, but their personal coaches won’t be allowed to interfere in the training schedule of the official coach at the national camp,” said WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar, as reported by Hindustan Times.
“Our Indian coaches taught the finer points of the game to Bajrang and Vinesh and we aren’t objecting to their personal coaches, but at the same time we need to protect the rights of our national coaches also,” said Tomar. “That’s why the personal coaches have been allowed to stay within the premises of training centres, but aren’t allowed to interfere in routine training,” added the official.