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Coach lifts India’s clout in Australia

other Updated: Jun 23, 2009 01:19 IST
Saurabh Duggal
Saurabh Duggal
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The Australian national weightlifting team has an Indian coach. Surprised that this could happen in the time of Indian students being attacked Down Under? Wait till you hear Arjun Toki’s story.

One of the five coaches of the Australian national team, Toki, 40, left Jalandhar for Australia on a temporary visa on 2007. He worked as a caregiver to the old at night and coached weightlifters during the day.

“I started coaching in my spare time,” he told HT. “Little did I know that I would be coaching the Australia national team one day.”

After he joined the Australia team, it won the Oceania Championship held last month in Darwin.

“The weightlifting association has written to the officials concerned to give me permanent residency,” said the former Punjab Police employee. “The association has also told the ministry handling immigration that they require my services for the 2010 Commonwealth Games and 2012 London Olympics.”

Toki’s favourite ward, Nicole Chamberlain, was named best female lifter of the country in 2008.

On the attacks on Indian students, Toki said: “Most Australians have condemned these attacks. It’s only because of some anti-social elements that these filthy episodes are happening.”