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Olympian struggling to get coach to Rio

other sports Updated: Jul 17, 2016 11:15 IST
Sean Sequeira
Sean Sequeira
Hindustan Times

Inderjeet Singh, the India and Asia men’s shot put No 1 said he had put in a request for funding of his coach’s trip to the Athletics Federation of India.(Getty Images)

Inderjeet Singh, an Indian athlete who will compete in the men’s shot put event at the 2016 Olympics next month, feels undone after months of preparation because of his inability to finance his coach’s trip to Rio de Janeiro. Speaking to the press at an event organised by Indian Oil to felicitate Rio-bound athletes on Friday, Inderjeet thanked all those who have supported him so far but requested further help in the final stage.

“The only support that I want from the government at this time is please send my coach to Rio with me,” Inderjeet said when asked about his preparations for the Olympics.

“We have received support from the government so far through the TOPS scheme; for training in India and the US as well. But at this stage, an athlete needs his coach with him. So the only support I want from the government is to finance for my coach to be sent with me.”

When asked if he could request his company, Indian Oil, to finance his coach’s trip, Inderjeet said they can only do so much and expecting them to fulfil this need as well would be asking for too much.

Coached by Pritam Singh, the brother and coach of two-time Olympian Shakti Singh, Inderjeet has managed to win gold at the 2015 Asian Athletic Championship and the 2015 Summer Universiade.

“Last year, for the Asian Games he was not present with me, but after that he has been with me for all the internationals I have participated in. So this time, I need him to be there with me in Rio,” Inderjeet said of his coach’s attendance at competitions.

The India and Asia men’s shot put No 1 said he had put in a request for funding of his coach’s trip to the Athletics Federation of India. He said the request had been forwarded to the Sports Minister but he hasn’t been updated about the proceedings further.

When asked if it was possible for an athlete to manage without his coach by his side, Inderjeet said: “If your coach is not there with you, there is no one around who can tell you what you are doing wrong while the competition is going on. Sometimes the athlete forgets to take care of themselves or what to do at that point of time. Only the coach can help remind the athlete about those (small but important) things.”

Inderjeet will depart for Rio on August 10 with his shot put event scheduled to take place on take place on August 18—the qualification round will be conducted in the morning and the finals of the event will take place in the evening.

With a personal best of 20.65 metres achieved at the 19th Federation Cup in May 2015—a distance which saw him achieve the 20.50 metre qualification mark for the Olympics—Inderjeet is under no disillusion of the stiff competition he faces from European athletes who are able to achieve marks of 21 metres and upwards. But the Punjab-born athlete is optimistic of his training thus far and hopes to beat his previous best in an attempt to get a podium finish.