Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra may be touted as India’s best hope for a track and field medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but the national team coach Uwe Hohn is unhappy about the delay in procuring equipment, insufficient support staff among problems, the Indian Express reported on Sunday.
Chopra had the sixth best throw in 2018 and also became the first Indian to grab the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold, raising hopes of a podium finish in the 2020 Games.
“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!,” the paper quoted a mail from Hohn.
Hohn, the only athlete to hurl the javelin over 100m, also said that the preparation of Chopra and other javelin throwers in the camp was far from ideal in the run up to 2020 Olympics with their demands of better javelin and recovery systems not being met.
“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 62-year-old, who is working with nine elite javelin throwers in Patiala.
The 62-year-old is also peeved with the lack of quality support staff and improper planning in holding camps and insists that merely celebrating Chopra’s success without providing him better support won’t work.
“We have just one masseur for nine male athletes and one girl for the female athletes in the camp here and sorry both are not good masseurs! Good massages 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 fulfill our plans. They blame problems with visa for it but I can’t believe this,” he was quoted as saying.
The report says SAI Director General Neelam Kapur did not respond to newspaper’s messages.