India’s foreign table tennis coach Massimo Costantini has decided against renewing his contract, which expires on September 30, citing personal reasons. The Table Tennis Federation of India was reportedly keen on extending it till the 2020 Olympics.
The Italian, who had returned to coach India in September 2016 on a two-year contract, guided the squad to two historic performances this year.
Manika Batra won an unprecedented women’s singles gold at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast while the Sharath Kamal-led men’s team won India its first ever medal at the Asian Games after reaching the semi-finals. Sharath also secured a bronze with Manika in Jakarta, capping off India’s incredible campaign at the Asian Games.
MP Singh, secretary at the Table Tennis Federation of India, confirmed the development to PTI. “He had some issues with his restaurant back home in Italy,” Singh said. “He also got an offer from the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) to work as high performance director. Another reason was that he wanted to spend more time with family,” Singh added.
Costantini’s wife has also not been keeping well following a car accident in Italy last year, according to a report in the Times of India. Their family restaurant in Senigallia was earlier managed by his wife.
“Since his only son is working somewhere in Europe, Costantini had to return not only to tend to his unwell wife but also take charge of the restaurant,” Dhanraj Chaudhary, Asia’s representative at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and a director at the Indian federation, told the newspaper. “His wife hasn’t been able to recover fully from the accident. He was hoping for his wife’s health to improve, but now he has decided to quit.”
Costantini is likely to take up the job with ITTF since its office is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, and he would be allowed to work from home, the report said. Costantini had informed the Indian federation about his decision before leaving for the Asian Games, but the players came to know about it only after returning from Indonesia, the report added.
With inputs from PTI