Coaches of Sports Authority of India (SAI), regional centre, Bhopal are working hard but on a different turf.
Swimming coach of the premier sports training centre can be found scanning through papers in the monitoring cell, the football coach is library in-charge at the centre, the badminton coach seems to have 'forgotten' the finesse of the game and appears more adept at operating computers and not to forget, the gymnastic coach never gets to bend his body to keep it elastic as he is the store keeper at SAI and seldom gets to give tips to SAI inmates on gymnastic.
They are hurt, crest-fallen at being reduced to clerks, computer operators and store-keepers but so deep-rooted is the fear of the all-powerful bureaucracy administering the sports centre that none dares to speak to the media about their 'sorry' state.
However, a coach, on condition of anonymity, said, "More than 50% permanent coaches in SAI Bhopal are involved in administration work for the past several years. The NIS-qualified coaches are wasting their talent in managing store, books and files in the office. But, they have no other option; they continue to work at the SAI regional centre with the hope that in the future they will be assigned their real jobs."
"There is a dearth of administrative and official employees in the regional centre, but it doesn't mean that the administration will assign off-beat jobs to the coaches" he added.
Qualified cricket coach Balbir Kaur, who developed players like Mohnish Mishra, is involved in administration work for the last 10 years. Gymnastic coach JR Bhonsle has been looking after the store for the past 11 years, badminton coach Geeta Pant has been looking after the monitoring cell for last 9 years, swimming coach Durgesh Nandini is working in the monitoring cell for the past 10 years and football coach SK Sharma works as a library in-charge.
Both the coaches of volleyball Anand Mohan Kumar and GP Goswami have been doing office work for the past 7 and 3 years respectively.
Balbir Singh, when pressed for comments, told HT that coaches understood official work related to sports better than a layman and that is why the management might have involved coaches in official jobs.
Madhya Pradesh Gymnastics Association secretary ML Sharma wonders if coaches were involved in 'babugiri' (official work), who would groom players on the ground. "We can't do anything in this matter because it is a Central government organisation but it is really annoying to see NIS-qualified coaches in the offices instead of the field," he said.
Technical director of athletics Varinder Singh said it is a matter of concern not only for coaches but also for the future of sports. Most sports like volleyball and gymnastics were dying in the state due to such problems. Anand Kumar Mohan trained a good number of international players when he used to provide training in BHEL but now his talent was being wasted in the office of SAI, he said.
Bhopal regional director of SAI RK Naidu said, "It's not good to see coaches in the office. The SAI set up is set to develop manifolds in the times to come. When that happens, the administration will recruit employees for administrative and managerial works."