Former national javelin throw coach Kashinath Naik has said that the spat between national javelin throw coach Uwe Hohn and Athletics Federation of India (AFI) could have an impact on the mindset of athletes preparing for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“With the Olympic Games less than 40 days away, both Hohn and India’s top javelin throwers are levelling allegations against each other. It indicates that all is not good in the national camp in Patiala. The controversy could divert the focus of athletes and impact performance as well," Naik, who was coach of the national team between 2013 to 2018, told IANS.
Since November 2017, Hohn, a former world record holder from Germany has been with the national camp. He is getting a monthly salary of $8000 (Rs 5.9 lakh approximately) and his contract is till September this year.
Based out of Patiala, and overseeing training of top javelin throwers including Olympic-bound javelin thrower Shivpal Singh, the German expert on Tuesday alleged that preparation for Olympics is not on the right track due to lack of proper exposure tour and good food supplements.
“The athletes aren’t getting high-level foreign exposure to prepare for the Tokyo Olympic Games," he had alleged.
A day later, India’s leading woman javelin thrower Annu Rani and Singh jumped into the controversy alleging that Hohn is more interested in going on foreign tours because he trains athletes from other countries and ignores the Indians.
“I can’t talk without the permission of AFI or Sports Authority of India (SAI). I can’t risk my job," Hohn said in a text message.
Adille Sumariwalla, president of the AFI, didn’t respond to calls while SAI said that Hohn is training Singh and Rajender and not Annu.
“Since February, Annu is not training with Hohn," SAI said in a statement on Thursday.
Naik said it is strange that the top two javelin throwers are criticising Hohn with the Olympics around the corner.
“If the athletes had some issue with Hohn, they should have told the AFI when the incident had happened in 2019 (Hohn coaching foreign athletes instead of Indians on a tour of Europe). Can’t understand the logic of making it public now," said Naik, who won bronze in javelin throw at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.