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Strange but true: Hotel owner becomes coach

In the Winter Olympics at Vancouver the Indian contingent comprises five officials and three athletes. That’s pretty normal given the way Indian sport functions. But what’s shocking is that one of the coaches — Muddasir Nazir Mir — has absolutely no credentials as a cross-country coach but still walked under the Indian flag at the opening ceremony, reports Saurabh Duggal.

other Updated: Feb 16, 2010 01:45 IST
Saurabh Duggal

In the Winter Olympics at Vancouver the Indian contingent comprises five officials and three athletes. That’s pretty normal given the way Indian sport functions. But what’s shocking is that one of the coaches — Muddasir Nazir Mir — has absolutely no credentials as a cross-country coach but still walked under the Indian flag at the opening ceremony.

“His name has been cleared on a no-cost-to-government basis. He helps us conduct events in Kashmir and since nobody else wants to go on their own money, what’s the problem in taking him along?” the chef-de-mission and secretary Winter Games Federation of India RK Gupta had told Hindustan Times when quizzed about the issue.

Mir owns a hotel in Gulmarg and is one of the sponsors of the Winter Games Federation of India in conducting skiing tournaments. Gupta admitted that once in Vancouver, Mir would have access to all the facilities at the athlete’s village.

Inquiries by Hindustan Times revealed that Mir has done a spot of competitive alpine skiing — totally distinct from the cross-country version he’s been accredited as coach for — but has not competed or earned a coaching degree in the other version.

He is supposed to be aiding armyman Tashi Lundup in Vancouver and such is the state of affairs that the athlete had not even been able to locate his competition area till Sunday, much less practice. Further, his actual coach is his army senior Karma Samstan who has been sidelined to accommodate Mir.

Shabir Ahmed Wani is the other skiing coach accompanying the team. He too is not qualified for cross-country. Wani, who is the treasurer of the WGFI, is an alpine skiing instructor with the Jammu and Kashmir government posted at Gulmarg.

Santosh, a former skier from Manali, and Shiva Keshavan’s father are the other two officials.

“There is no luge coach in India. My father understands my sport and is my physio and masseur rolled into one.

“The other supposed support staff did not even turn up to see me compete today,” said Keshavan.