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Sushil Kumar’s wish for personal coaches for all, almost granted

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Kolkata: In what may be a historic move initiated by ace wrestler Sushil Kumar, the sports ministry has been ‘convinced in principle’ with the concept of appointment of personal coaches alongside the National coach. Wrestling may become the first sport in our nation to accept the scope of official personal coaches for the players in presence of a ‘performance manager’ for international assignments. This move, if approved, might provide a huge boost to the players and may see their performance rise to a great level.

Sushil, who has left amateur wrestling caught up with Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas on Wednesday and proposed that the wrestlers should be allowed to be shaped and skilled under their personal coaches at national camps, instead of coaches ‘parachuted to camps without relevant experience.’

Kumar is a part of the government-appointed 14-member team who will play the role of observers, present coaching development plans, develop selection strategies and will assess the athletes.  “There is a possibility of accepting the concept of personal coach who will accompany the wrestlers at national camps. It will then change the coaching structure and the national coach will have to be replaced by a performance manager or something like that” said Srinivas.

There seem to be many reasons as to why the sports ministry may accept this proposal of Sushil Kumar, but it may be the influence of the Phogat sisters in the recent times that might trigger them. Aamir Khan in his blockbuster biopic Dangal played the role of veteran wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, the man who shaped and skilled his daughters Geeta and Babita Phogat.

The film apart from taking the box-office by storm has also pin-pointed the influence a personal coach can have on the careers and rise of the athletes. Rightly pointed out by Sushil, the personal coaches are the ones who find out these athletes and derive the best out them.

After being trained under these coaches, when the players are introduced to the national coaches, often they find themselves in a fix. In the process of reshaping and readjusting themselves, the careers of many players come to an end.

Wanting to carry on the legacy of ‘Akhara tradition’ that India is famous for, the ace wrestler wants to bring out best wrestlers with the help of their personal coaches. Many nations such as the United States of America or Russia and Iran have the provision for appointment of personal coaches for wrestlers, resulting in high yield of medal-winning wrestlers. Sushil cited his and Yogeshwar Dutt’s example. According to Sushil, it is due to their personal coach that both the wrestler earned medals. He also pointed out the contribution of Coach Pullela Gopichand towards the success of both Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu.

(With inputs from the Indian Express)

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