India has high hopes from its wrestling contingent for the Asian Games, but the wrestlers’ preparation could be lacking that extra zing in the absence of foreign coaches in all three weight categories – men’s and women’s freestyle and Greco-roman. There has been some delay in appointing the coaches by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), which is understandable given that most foreign coaches with creditable records are engaged with the wrestling federations of other nations. SAI is now looking to engage the coaches for a period up to 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) was guilty of initially sending just three applications to SAI – Iran’s Hossein Karimi (men’s), Russia’s Farniev Irbek Valentinovich (women’s) and Georgia’s Temo Kazarashvili (Greco-roman) – when it should have sent the resumes of all applicants. The WFI later forwarded 10-12 applications but it was too late to get one on board for the Asiad.
It’s learnt that Valentinovich later withdrew his application and joined elsewhere citing the delay in his appointment. He had demanded a whopping $10,000 per month for his services. In his place, WFI had sent the name of USA’s Andrew Cook to coach the women.
The wrestlers are now training under three Indian coaches – Jagminder Singh (men’s freestyle), Kuldeep Malik (women) and Kuldeep Singh (Greco-roman) – but feel they would have benefitted from training under a foreign coach.