Indian quarter-milers Muhammed Anas and Ashwini Akkunji were among the 11 Olympians and three Para-Olympians appointed as coaches and assistant coaches by the Sports Authority of India on Friday.
The 24-year-old Anas, who won three silver medals at the Jakarta Asian Games, and Ashwini, who claimed gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and 2010 Asian Games, along with nine others will join on January 5 next year.
Mariyappan Thangavelu, who won a gold in high jump at Para Olympics 2016, has been offered a Group A post as coach.
“This is our way of acknowledging the contribution made by these sportspersons to the country,” said Neelam Kapur, director general of SAI.
“We want sportspersons who have represented the country in the most competitive, elite events of the world, to be associated with sports throughout their professional careers and even after they retire.
“We want to harness their vast experience towards training young, prospective medal winners.”
These appointments have been made with an effort to ensure that experienced and elite sportspersons continue to contribute to the progress of sport in the country during their tenure as active sportspersons and even after they retire, according to a SAI press release.
The appointments as regular staff of SAI will secure the sportspersons financially, while allowing them to continue with their regular training and participation in competitions, the release added. Retired sportspersons who have been appointed will take on coaching jobs with immediate effect, it said.
The list of appointees also include OP Jaisha, who represented the country in the Rio Olympics marathon, women’s hockey player Savita Punia, and Paralympians Sharad Kumar (high jump) and Ankur Dhama (1,500 m).