Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 15
The Wrestling Federation (WFI) is starting to deliver on the promise it had made of appointing personal coaches for its elite wrestlers. The first wrestler to benefit from a personal coach is also India’s most decorated wrestler, Sushil Kumar, who will be trained by Russia’s Malikov Kamal.
The two-time Olympics medallist had written to WFI, asking it to appoint a personal coach for him at the earliest as he was keen to regain peak fitness and form ahead of the qualifying tournaments for the Olympic Games. One such tournament is the World Championships, to be held in Astana in Kazakhstan in September. Kamal is expected to draw a salary of $3,300 per month, which will be funded through WFI’s partnership with the TATA Group. The steel major has signed a three-year contract with WFI to become its main title sponsor.
Malikov will be the third personal coach attached to Indian wrestlers after Georgian Shako Bentinidis and Hungary’s Woller Akos. Bentinidis supervises Bajrang Punia’s training while Akos works with Vinesh Phogat. However, their remuneration is being taken care of by non-profit groups JSW and OGQ, respectively.
Sakshi, Pooja keen too
Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik and 2018 World Championships bronze winner Pooja Dhanda too want personal coaches. The two have written a letter to WFI about this, and have recommended the name of Romanian coach Fanel Carp as their coach.
The two wrestlers feel that Andrew Cook, who was appointed as the foreign coach of the Indian women’s wrestling team, will not be able to spare time for them as he needs to attend to the whole team’s training.
It is understood that Carp has already sent an extensive training plan for Sakshi and Pooja leading up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar said that the proposal to sign Carp will be forwarded to WFI’s president. “Yes, they have written to us about hiring of a personal coach,” Tomar said. “We have asked for more details. Once we get the details it will be forwarded to the president, who may appoint a committee to look at his candidacy.”