The Sports Ministry on Saturday said it has extended the contract of nine foreign coaches and support personnel, including the High Performance Director of athletics, with an eye on the 2024 Olympics, the 2022 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
In July, the ministry had decided to draw up extended contracts for foreign and Indian coaches in alignment with the Olympic cycle.
This decision was taken by the ministry with a focus on the 2024 and 2028 Olympics, and to ensure Olympic-bound athletes are able to train consistently with one coach and work on improving their performance.
Speaking about the decision, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said it will benefit the athletes tremendously.
“There is a well-defined roadmap ahead for our athletes as we eye the best of preparations for 2024 and 2028.
“This decision to extend the contract of the coaches will benefit our athletes as there will be continuation of their training with the same coach.
“Coaches play the most vital part in moulding our athletes to reach the elite level and this also improves India’s chances in various major international events going ahead.”
Indian athletics legend and World Championship medallist Anju Bobby George welcomed the move.
“This is a very welcome move and will benefit athletes in a big way. In athletics, more than in other disciplines, techniques and continuous training are very important, since the competition season is usually very long,” Anju said in a press release.
She added, “Being with the same coach benefits an athlete because the coach can then predict how an athlete will react during a competition and guide an athlete accordingly.
“With foreign coaches especially, communication is often an issue, and only if a coach trains an athlete long enough can they understand each other well and the athlete can draw out the best from the training.
“It is however very important that the performance of a coach is reviewed properly so as to get the best possible results.”
The performance of the coaches and support staff will be reviewed annually, with the results of athletes in major international events being the main indicator.