Differences with the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) have caused Kuldeep Singh, the chief national women's chief coach, to quit, and his exit has hit the team's buildup to the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Trouble erupted when Kuldeep and the WFI differed over the selection of a grappler in the 63kg category, for the just-concluded World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. Following the differences, the coach put in his papers.
The rift came to light in end-August after the selection trials in Patiala. Going by merit, Navjot Kaur of Punjab should have been chosen as she finished ahead of Alka Tomar of Uttar Pradesh and Anita of Haryana. Instead, the WFI recommended Alka's name for the Worlds.
The move backfired as Navjot approached the sports ministry to intervene. Taking note of the results, which were supplied by Kuldeep despite being asked not to do so by the WFI, the ministry gave the nod to Navjot.
Though the federation fell in line eventually, the delay led Navjot to board the flight on September 13, a day after the world meet started. Also, the spat between the coach and federation hit the five-member team, which failed to perform in the season's first Olympic qualifier.
No replacement yet
Though he resigned two weeks ago, the federation is yet to name a replacement.
Handed over the reins of the camp in July, Kuldeep said it had become difficult to work in a system where nepotism overshadowed performance. "There isn't fair play. I felt suffocated and quit," he told HT.
WFI secretary-general, Raj Singh, played down the issue. "Kuldeep had joined the camp voluntarily, and now that he has quit, it wouldn't have an adverse impact on coaching."
He even blamed Kuldeep for raking up the controversy.