Kiren Rijiju said there is no time for the athletes and new coaches to understand each other.© AFP
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Wednesday extended the contract of 32 foreign coaches in 11 disciplines till September 30, 2021 to ensure that athletes bound for Tokyo Olympics, which has been postponed by a year, can retain continuity in their training with the same coaches. The contracts of many of the coaches were to end in September this year. Speaking about the decision, Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju said in a statement, “The postponement of Tokyo Olympics by a year makes it imperative that the same coaches be retained so that athletes are not disadvantaged in any way. A new coach takes time to understand an athlete and the athlete needs time to understand the training process of a coach. We don’t have that kind of time now.”
The Sports Minister had earlier announced that coaches, both India and foreign, will be hired for at least 4 years or one Olympic cycle to ensure continuity in training.
The 4-year contract will be handed out with an eye on the 2024 and 2028 Olympics. The interim extension of 1 year till 2021 is an immediate step to ensure athletes have the same coaches till the Tokyo Olympics.
The further extension of the contract for 4 years will be decided on the basis of the performance of the coach and recommendation from the respective NSFs. The contracts, though for 4 years, will be reviewed annually and extended on the basis of a coach’s overall performance, indicated by the performance of athletes in major international events.
The Tokyo Olympic Games will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021, while the Paralympics will take place from August 24 to September 5, 2021.
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