The Sports Ministry has cleared the foreign trips of two Asian Games gold medalists, triple jumper Arpinder Singh and shot putter Tajinder Toor. Arpinder will head to Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training centre in US to be with coach Jeremy Fischer. His close friend Toor will head to DP Throws Coaching Limited in suburban Whangaparaoa in New Zealand along with personal coach Mohinder Singh Dhillon.
Besides them, star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, along with five other national campers, is all set to travel to South Africa to train at the North-East University in Potchefstroom city. This batch of elite javelin throwers will train under coach Uwe Hohn till March.
“SAI has given us the nod but since it’s the holiday season the visa processing is taking time. By the first week of January we are expected to get the visa. We opted for South Africa because it will be really cold in Europe at this time of the year. A lot of top throwers head to train at this venue during the winters. If it wasn’t for the cold, we would have trained in Germany or Finland,” said Chopra.
For Arpinder this would be his second overseas training stint, with the previous one didn’t turning out the way he expected. During his 8-month stay in London in 2015-2016, he trained under coach John Herbert, a 1986 Commonwealth Games triple jump champion and ex-England athletics coach.
“That was a mistake. We had just 8 months but the training didn’t suit me. They asked me adopt a technique the jumpers were using there but I wasn’t comfortable. Even the training regime was very different as they focus a lot on weight training. I used to do a clean 120kg here but there I was asked to go for 140kg. I failed to pick up the new technique while also forgettinjg my old one. It all turned out be a disaster,” recalled Arpinder, who failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Even after his return to India he could not find his rhythm. Arpinder would take part in various national level meets and return empty handed. With medals drying up, self doubt kicked in. This saw him return to his village Harsha Chhina Uchha Qila near Amritsar. “After the break, I decided to break out of the clutches and resume training. I am grateful to the AFI that they included me in the camp despite a string of poor performances. I was at the camp under the national jump coach Bedrose Bedrosian in Trivandrum for a year and I went back to my old technique. Behind my back, a lot of people were saying ‘his career is over’. But I kept quiet and answered them with an Asian Games gold,” said Arpinder.
Even in 2015, his first choice was Chula Vista but the plan did not work out which forced him to settle for London. But since then Arpinder has been in constant touch with the American coach seeking his guidance over the phone. “I used to send him my jumping videos on whatsapp and ask him to check if anything’s wrong with my technique. He would always respond with tips. I am really excited that I will get work under him finally. And since I am there there till March 2019, there is enough time for me to settle in,” the 25-year-old jumper said.