Sunday, January 31, 2010

Shooters hire coach with own expenses

The men’s hockey team showed the way a few weeks ago and the women followed in their footsteps. Now, the shooters have got officialdom in their sights and are proving that where there is a will, there is indeed a way.

The latest message, this time to the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), comes from six top pistol shooters who’ve hired a foreign coach to train them at the national camp. With NRAI unable to recruit a coach to replace Hungarian Czaba Gyorik who left after the Beijing Olympics, the shooters have availed of the services of a top coach, with each spending around Rs 50,000 a month.

‘‘How long should we wait? The authorities can take their own time but the competition dates won’t change. Now, we’re spending from our pockets to pay renowned coach Anatoli Poddubni of Ukraine for his expertise,’’ Samaresh Jung, nicknamed ‘Goldfinger’ for his medal haul in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, told

New coach hired for 6 months

After having suffered without a coach for 18 months, pistol shooters Samresh Jung, Ronak Pandit, Amanpreet Singh, Heena Sidhu, Ruchit Kapadia and Upasana Parasrampuria have hired their own coach, Anatoli Poddubni of Ukraine, and training under him. Poddubni, who coached the Soviets to world domination and has earlier worked with Pandit, has been roped in for a six-month term.

‘‘With NRAI unable to find a coach, I was planning to get him (Poddubni) back. When I discussed this with other shooters, they agreed. With the help of the Mumbai Suburban District Rifle Association (MSDRA), we managed to get him. We pay him approximately $2500-3,000 a month. Plus, we have to meet other expenses, including boarding and lodging,’’ Ronak, son of renowned shooter and president of MSDRA, Ashok Pandit, said. Incidentally, MSDRA helped the foreigner get a work permit.

Jung said he had not been shooting great scores since the Beijing Games as he was struggling without proper guidance. ‘‘I was not making much headway and was planning to go abroad to train when Ronak came up with this idea. It’s great to have such an experienced coach who has helped the likes of Moscow Olympic gold medallist Aleksandr Melentiev,’’ Jung said.

‘‘The Army has two coaches to train its shooters but there is no coach for the national squad which forced us to act,” Jung added, explaining the plight of civilian shooters. Interestingly, NRAI is now trying hard to recruit Melentiev to fill the vacant pistol coach’s slot. Knowing the pace at which files move between federations and government departments, the other shooters should be prepared to wait for weeks before the new coach arrives in India.

National shooting coach Sunny Thomas confirmed that NRAI decided to bring in Melentiev. ‘‘We expect to finalize Melentiev’s appointment at the next meeting of the CWG steering committee in February,’’ Thomas said.