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Air ticket dispute may cost India top coach

New Delhi: Archery Association of India’s (AAI) attempt to rope in one of the world’s finest coaches in compound archery, for the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, could fall through over an air ticket dispute.

According to sources, the AAI finalised a deal with the legendary American coach Dee Wilde for the national team.

But it may not come through because of the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) refusal to allow the coach to travel in business class. The SAI has told the AAI that since all coaches fly economy class, Dee Wilde would also have to fall in line.

“The American coach has flatly refused,” said an archery official. “Given his status, it was a rather ridiculous proposal. As per the plan, he could have come by now. But so far nothing has been done,” he added.

A former world champion, who had 40 world records to his name, Dee Wilde missed the world No. 1 spot only twice, between 1989 and 2000. He was also the US national champion for more than 25 years.

As a coach, Dee Wilde, 62, has produced eight world champions, including his son, Reo Wilde.

Anil Kamineni, the secretary of the AAI, however, tried to play down the matter. “SAI has a point. They have rules and they cannot make an exception.

“We are trying to get a sponsor to meet the coach’s demands. Hopefully, we will be able to bring him,” he said.

Meanwhile, the national camp for archers has started in the capital with only half a dozen campers as most of the top archers have decided to stay away.

Big names like Deepika Kumari, Jayanta Talukdar and Rahul Banerjee are yet to join the camp.