Once rejected as coach, Sukhraj Singh Batth produces World Championship medallist
Sukhraj Singh Batth, who faced administrative hurdles while starting as coach, guided Damaneet Singh to win silver in hammer throw at the U-18 World Championships.other sports Updated: Jul 16, 2017 10:11 IST
Sukhraj Singh Batth, whose application for coach’s post was once rejected by Punjab Sports Department, stood vindicated after his trainee Damaneet Singh won silver at the U-18 World Championships.
With the feat, Damaneet became India’s first hammer thrower to win medal in any age group category at World Championships.
Damaneet is a product of Batth Hammer Throw Academy in Barnala district of Punjab.
“Damaneet joined the academy three years ago and is from the initial lot of trainees. Today, he made us proud. I was dejected when I was not selected as coach by Punjab Sports Department. I thought of quitting but Damaneet’s dedication pushed me. I took it as a challenge and aimed to produce a world-class hammer thrower. Damaneet’s triumph has motivated me to work harder,” says Sukhraj, who is an assistant professor at TPD Malwa College, Rampura Phul, Bhatinda.
He shuttles 35km one way daily to attend college and then returns to impart training to 21 throwers. “We have facility only for hammer throw event and from this year, I have admitted girls too. Now we have 21 trainees, including eight girls,” says Sukhraj.
In 2012, Punjab Sports Department advertised for permanent coaches. Sukhraj applied but was not selected as he had secured a lower percentage in the National Institute of Sports Diploma course in Athletics. “After that, I opened the academy. Without any assistance, our trainees are already producing good results. Our trainees have set U-17, U-19 national school games record. One of them also holds junior U-20 national record,” says Sukhraj. “We charge a very nominal fee and whatever money we collect, we invest it on equipment,” he adds.
Damaneet is the son of a former national-level pole vaulter. Before clinching silver at the world meet on Friday, he won silver at the Asian Youth Championship last month.