New Delhi: The selection of coaches and support staff for the London-bound contingent is proving to be an unenviable task for the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
According to sources, the apex body has turned down discus thrower Vikas Gowda’s request to allow his personal coach John Godina to be included in the London-bound squad. A three-time world champion, Godina is considered one of the greatest shot putters in athletics history.
Based in the US, Gowda trains under Godina at his academy and one of the two athletes in India’s 14-member squad expected to make a mark in the Olympics this time. A medallist in the prestigious Diamond League recently, Gowda has improved by leaps and bounds under the US coach.
According to sources, Gowda sent a letter to Athletics Federation of India (AFI) and Sports Authority of India (SAI) requesting them to make provision for Godina to accompany the team. The letter was forwarded to IOA, who turned down the proposal.
AFI president Adille Sumariwalla, however, said he had requested the IOA to arrange for special passes to be given to Godina in case the American coach goes to London to help his ward. “Godina could be in London during Gowda’s event. Special passes will enable him to attend Gowda’s training sessions,” he added.
Sumariwalla said that he had no problem with Godina being a part of Indian squad. “But Gowda has also asked for his father Shive Gowda to be named as one of his coaches. Given the fact the number of officials has been restricted this time, we cannot afford to have two coaches for one athlete.”
The AFI has also decided to ask three athletes — marathoner Ram Singh Yadav, triple jumpers Renjith Maheshwary and Mayookha Johny — to undergo fitness tests before they are allowed to compete in Olympics. All three, AFI sources said, had not participated in any event in the last few months.
Ram Singh’s coach KS Mathew has given July 22 as the date for his ward’s trial which will be conducted in Bangalore. Renjith and Mayookha, who are preparing abroad, have also been communicated about the trials.
Mayookha qualified for the Olympics in July last year with a national record effort of 14.11m. She has been training in Germany since then and AFI does not have any information about her recent performance.