Six months before Games,pistol coach threatens to quit

With just six months to go for the London Games,the national pistol coach Anatoli Poddubny,blaming the Sports Authority of India’s unprofessional ways,has threatened to quit

Written by Vinayak Padmadeo | New Delhi | Published:January 25, 2012 12:41 am

With just six months to go for the London Games,the national pistol coach Anatoli Poddubny,blaming the Sports Authority of India’s unprofessional ways,has threatened to quit. The reason for the 70-year-old Ukrainian’s disillusionment is the amount mentioned by SAI in the contract.

“SAI had agreed to pay me $150 per day for my services. And when the contract was forwarded to me,I was shocked to know that the figure mentioned was $ 66 per day. I will not sign on the papers,” he said. There is a general consensus among the shooters that in case Poddubny distances himself from the national camp it will be a big setback to India’s chances at the July 27 to August 12 Summer Games.

That’s because Poddubny is a reputed coach who has worked closely with many Olympics medallists including Alexandr Melientiev,who won gold at the Moscow Games. India’s pistol squad includes Annuraj Singh,Vijay Kumar and Rahi Sarnobat,who are in with a chance of making it to the podium at London.

Poddubny has been in India for a while as he has been associated with shooter Gagan Narang’s Guns for Glory Academy in Pune. Post-Beijing Olympics,with the National Rifle Association of India’s (NRAI) failing to rope in a coach,the federation wrote to the Sports Ministry and SAI to draft the Ukrainian for the national team.

The coach has already attended two training camps in Pune with the Indian team and has also travelled to three international meets,including the Asian Shooting Championships at Doha this month.

The coach’s contract confusion has put NRAI in a spot. “We have to stick with him because we will not get a coach so close to the Olympics. As it is,it took us so long to get one,we can’t afford to lose him,” NRAI advisor Baljeet Sethi said adding,“we have written to the ministry and SAI to sort the matter.”

Meanwhile,SAI secretary Gopal Krishan said that nothing has been decided as of now. “We have to be reasonable with tax payers’ money. We can’t pay whatever people want. Right now we are in the process of negotiations. Let’s see what happens. But one thing is sure,we will finalise by the end of this month,” he said.

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