Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra‘s coach Uwe Hohn has blamed the Sports Authority of India (SAI) for poor equipment, diet and insufficient support staff ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Chopra who won Gold medals at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games 2018 is India’s brightest prospect in the next Olympic games.
In a detailed e-mail to the Sunday Express, the German legend wrote,”Because of the very bad support of the Sports Authority of India (SAI), we need help from people or companies who like to help ASAP because with every week, bit by bit, we lose chance to reach our high goals!”
Hohn is the only thrower in the history of the sport to hurl the javelin to 100 metres. He currently trains Chopra and the country’s other elite javelin throwers at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala said, “how Neeraj’s success is celebrated and there is high hope that he wins a medal in Tokyo but still the support to him is so very bad”.
“I contacted 2 javelin companies and sent my list of equipment to an office in Patiala. But when the company didn’t receive any order I checked last week and found out that this guy hadn’t even opened the mail I sent to him. That’s the way SAI is working!
“I had organised two of them (recovery systems) for our team and SAI reimbursed me for those. Now we have just one and the other is with the 400-m team. Nobody likes to help us, no Athletics Federation of India (AFI), no SAI. SAI is a major problem. It’s been over 4 or 5 months since I made my demand but nothing has happened so far,” wrote the 56-year-old.
Pointing out how his team doesn’t even get basic support, he says, “We have just 1 masseur for 9 male athletes and 1 girl for the female athletes in the camp here and sorry both are not good masseurs! Good messages are also important for a faster recovery, better training and better results.”
“Training camps are either delayed or not happening. We can’t go (abroad for tournaments) earlier and don’t get a good block of days to train and fulfil our plans. They blame problems with a visa for it but I can’t believe this,” he was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Neeraj has also highlighted the same cause of concern as his coach. He said,” Our plan to go abroad for training has been getting delayed. That’s one of the reasons why the coach made those comments. We hope that will be done as quickly as possible so that I go out and focus on training for two-three months. Right now, training is okay but there are a lot of programmes happening, which I have to attend. It hampers my training.”
The 21-year-old had the sixth best throw in the world in 2018 of 88.06 metres at the Asian Games in Jakarta. Chopra is inching closer to 90 meters which will almost guarantee an Olympic medal in Tokyo.
Speaking about his German coach, Neeraj says that it is because of the countries’ cultural differences that he made such a statement. He told ANI,” My coach, Uwe Hohn is from Germany, so the sports system there is different from what we have here (in India). Our country is very big so it takes time for things to happen. Sab aaram aaram se hota hai.”
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