The Sports Authority of India on Wednesday extended the contract of 32 foreign coaches in 11 disciplines till September end next year to ensure continuity in the training of athletes till Tokyo Olympics.
Top coaches among the 32 included Santiago Nieva and Raffaele Bergamasco in boxing, Graham Reid (men’s hockey) and Pavel Smirnov (shooting) among others. The contracts of many of these coaches were to end in September this year.
National football coach Igor Stimac’s contract was also extended although it has nothing to do with the Olympics. He was appointed in May last year for a two year tenure.
Earlier this month, the Sports Ministry had said that the contracts of all the foreign coaches will be extended till the end of September next year.
The SAI said the decision was taken to ensure that athletes bound for Tokyo Games, postponed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, have continuity in their training.
“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,” Sports Minster Kiren Rijiju said in a release.
“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.”
A SAI source told PTI that the terms and conditions of the contracts, including the remuneration, remain the same as earlier.
“We have extended the contracts of these foreign coaches on the recommendation of the respective NSFs. All the terms and conditions, including the remunerations, remain the same,” the source said.
Rijiju had earlier announced that coaches, both Indians and from abroad, will henceforth be hired for at least four years or one Olympic cycle to ensure continuity. The four-year contract will be handed out with an eye on the 2024 and 2028 Olympics.
Further extension of contract for four years will be decided on the basis of the performance of the coach and recommendation from the respective NSFs.
The contracts, though of four years, will be reviewed annually and extended on the basis of a coach’s overall results, indicated by the performance of athletes in major international events.