Updated: March 1, 2018 10:02:30 am
Foreign coach for javelin throw Uwe Hohn, the only person to have crossed the 100-metre mark, is unhappy about Athletics Federation of India’s dilly-dallying on fulfilling his wish-list, which includes a commitment that star athlete Neeraj Chopra trains under him at the national camp till the 2020 Olympics. Hohn is also asking for a bonus if any of his trainees finishes in the top-6 at the World Championships or the Olympic Games. The German also wants an incentive if an athlete crosses the 90-metre mark.
Hohn’s predecessor, Australian’s Garry Calvert, left before completing his contract period after his demand for salary hike and contract extension till the Olympics was not met by the Sports Authority of India. Hohn says there is no full-blown crises at the moment as he hopes to talk to top AFI officials during the 22nd Federation Cup next week. But he admits to running out of patience because he had put forward his demands to AFI officials on more than one occasion but none have given a guarantee that his contract will be updated.
“It won’t be right on my part to leave without seeing out my contract. I don’t want to do that because the Olympics is just two years away and it will disrupt the training schedule of Indian athletes. But if Neeraj is going to train in Germany what is the point of me being the Indian coach? If I am not able to help Neeraj cross 90 metres then there is no point in me being here. But I can only coach him if he remains in the national camp and is open to training with me,” Hohn says.
Hohn took charge in November but was disappointed when Chopra travelled to Offenburg to train under another German Werner Daniels for three months. Chopra had lost patience as the appointment of a coach was time a0nd again delayed and didn’t want to waste time with the Commonwealth Games around the corner. One of the main reasons why Hohn signed the contract to coach India was the opportunity to coach 20-year-old Chopra, the 2016 Junior World Champion.
Hohn has been training 10 throwers who are part of the national camp, including World Championship finalist Davinder Singh Kang. But with Kang failing a dope test his future is uncertain. Chopra returned to the national camp earlier this month and won gold with a throw of 82.88 metres in the first leg of the Indian Grand Prix on Tuesday.
Hohn is exasperated because officials have earlier made hollow promises. The six-foot six inch German talks about one of the preconditions he had set before taking up the India job to highlight the apathy of officials. “I had asked for business class tickets for long-haul flights because of my large frame. They said ‘yes’ ‘yes’ but I am still travelling in economy,” he said. Hohn has had four back surgeries and lost muscle in his right leg after a training mishap and finds it difficult to sit for long hours in cramped seats.
“I am ready to pay the difference in fare for business class tickets if need be. Hopefully, I will be allowed to travel business class. But my other conditions need to be met. The best athlete in the country has to train with me. Also a top-six finish at the Olympics or the world championships in the javelin is a big step for India, and for that matter a 90-plus throw. I don’t think I am asking for too much.”
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