It could well be a big loss for India’s medal-starved athletes and a bonus for China’s strong contingent, Australian Garry Calvert, who resigned as the national javelin coach in April after a row with sports officials, has been promptly signed up India’s giant neighbours to guide their Tokyo 2020 Olympic hopefuls.
Garry Calvert had last year guided India’s Neeraj Chopra to a sensational javelin gold in the Under-20 world athletics championships in Poland with a record (86.48m) to boot. The junior world mark is also the Indian national record.
Last week, Calvert was at hand when the 19-year-old Chopra attained the qualifying mark for the London world athletics championships in August by hurling the javelin to 83.32m to claim silver in the Asian Grand Prix second leg in Jiaxing, China.
However, Calvert’s resignation last month was controversial. Hired in February, 2016 to supervise India’s six-member javelin squad, he was given a two-year contract. However, when the Sports Authority of India asked him to draw up a coaching plan until the Tokyo Games, Calvert sought a contract extention until the next Olympics with improved terms.
While Calvert was frustrated by SAI’s lack of specific response to his repeated e-mails, top SAI and athletics federation (AFI) officials were upset at what they saw as Calvert trying to push them for the contract extension. He resigned in early April and it was promptly accepted.
Monday was Calvert’s last day as India javelin coach, having served a month’s notice period
Calvert, who coached Australia’s Jarrod Bannister to the national mark of 89.02m in 2008, told HT: “My contract ended yesterday, I am waiting for my tickets to come. I will be based in Beijing.”
The Australian coach though has great hopes for the Haryana-based Chopra. “He has great talent, and has the same style as the world record-holder (Czech Jan Zelezny). He is capable of joining the 90m club.”