Hockey India’s high-performance director David John has resigned, just days after his contract was renewed by the sports ministry until September 2021. It is learnt that the federation has accepted the Australian’s resignation but the Sports Authority of India, his employers on paper, are yet to respond.
It is learnt that John has cited personal and health issues as reasons to return to Australia. But according to those in the know, John put in his papers after he was asked to report to the Hockey India office in Delhi every day as well as make trips to training centres around the country in the middle of the pandemic.
When asked about John’s resignation as well as the reasons for it, Hockey India said, “no comments.” John did not respond to text messages.
John, who was employed at a monthly salary of $12,000, has been working from home in New Delhi since the beginning of the lockdown in March. In May, Hockey India’s office had to be shut down after two staffers tested positive for the coronavirus. “David was not comfortable to travel to the office and other cities in the country as it posed health risks. There was a difference of opinion over this issue and he eventually offered to quit,” a source said.
John has been associated with Indian hockey for a major part of the last decade, having first come as the men’s team’s physio along with former coach Michael Nobbs. During that stint, he was credited with improving the players’ fitness levels, first bringing them on par with the rest of the world and then making them better.
He left the team after the 2012 London Olympics but returned in November 2016 as the high-performance director. His appointment raised a few eyebrows as John did not have any prior coaching experience. Since then, however, he has been one of the key figures in Indian hockey, having been closely associated with the men and women’s teams as well as designing Hockey India’s ambitious coaching programme. He also played an important role in the appointment of coaches for the national teams.
His resignation means that even in a year without a lot of sporting action, Indian hockey’s dubious tradition of parting ways with coaches and people in related roles continues.
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