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Japan ignores India’s request for a wrestling coach

Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) had approached its Japanese counterpart twice---- in 2016 and 2017--- but on both occasions, the response was lukewarm

other sports Updated: Sep 04, 2017 13:36 IST
Navneet Singh
India’s search for a Japanese wrestling coach has ended in vain.
India’s search for a Japanese wrestling coach has ended in vain.(Hindustan Times file photo)

Impressed by the Japanese female wrestlers who won four gold medals at Rio Olympics, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) expanded its search for an expert from the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’. The hunt, however, ended in vain.

The Indian national federation had approached its Japanese counterpart twice---- in 2016 and 2017--- but on both occasions, the response was lukewarm.

Soon after the Rio Games, the WFI had asked the Japan Wrestling Federation (JWF) to suggest names of experts who would be eager to come to India and train the top women grapplers. The Japanese didn’t respond.

The WFI approached the JWF again when they got in touch with its president Tomiaki Fuduka during the Asian championships at Delhi. The response, however, was negative again, says WFI secretary Vinod Tomar.

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“We were looking towards Japan for two reasons. Firstly, foreign expert from a nation that has a good track record will improve the overall standard. Secondly, our team could have benefitted from training with their top players ahead of the next Olympics. The Japanese officials would always say ‘okay’ we will help you, but they would never get back,” he adds.

After the cold shoulder from Japan, WFI has expanded its search to other countries like Russia and Mongolia. “Some candidates had sent their applications but the profiles weren’t impressive. Hence they were rejected,” a WFI official said of the development.

Mongolia has a good tradition but its coaching system isn’t result-oriented.

Language barrier

During the just-concluded Worlds at Paris, WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh interacted with a number of national federations.

For men’s freestyle, the WFI has zeroed in on Russia’s Sergei Beloglazov, a former Olympic and world champion. The 60-year-old also runs a training centre in Kaliningrad, Russia.

The Russian expert, according to WFI, has shown some interest in the Indian team. “If he (Sergei) agrees, our grapplers will benefit because he has a big group of wrestlers at his centre and having sparring partners in all weight groups will be a big advantage,” says the WFI official.

There has always been a language-barrier with the Russian experts and it is an aspect that is being overlooked.

For the Greco-Roman style, the Iranian wrestling federation has agreed to support WFI. And for the women’s freestyle group, Mongolian chief coach B Batbayar has assured of recommending names.

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Batbayar will be coming to India to oversee a week-long coaches’ seminar from September 25 at Sonepat, Haryana.

“We hope to sort out things then,” adds Tomar.

After India’s below par performance at the just concluded Worlds at Paris, the need for a foreign expert was flagged by double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, who is also a government observer. In his report to the sports ministry, he recommended the need to appoint foreign expert on priority basis to improve India’s medal chance in the 2018 season.

WFI believes the real challenge will be the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia although Indian grapplers will participate in the Commonwealth Games just before that. Tomar adds: “Indians have been dominating CWG, but continental games will be tough. So we want to hire a foreign coach as early as possible.”