Crowded jumpers’ national camp turning out to be a problem

The national camp in Thiruvananthapuram is too crowded and elite athletes are not getting the specialised attention they need, feels 2014 Commonwealth bronze medallist Arpinder Singh.

Indian triple jumper Arpinder Singh at the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board athletics meet in Kochi on Wednesday.   -  Stan Rayan

He is currently one of Asia’s best triple jumpers and with the recent Commonwealth Games not going the way he had planned, Arpinder Singh is desperate to fine-tune things for the Asian Games in Jakarta which is less than a hundred days away.

But the 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist feels that the long and triple jumpers’ national camp in Thiruvananthapuram, where Romanian Bedros Bedrosian is the chief coach, is too crowded and elite athletes are not getting the specialised attention they need at this crucial stage.

“I’m happy with Bedros as a coach, he has that quality. But he has too many athletes under him and because of that, he is unable to focus on his main athletes,” said Arpinder, in a chat with Sportstar on the sidelines of the Petroleum Board all-India athletics meet at the Maharaja’s Stadium here on Wednesday.

‘Big number’

“It will be nice if a coach has a maximum of seven or eight athletes, something like three to four boys and two to three girls. That would be ideal. There are also some State-level athletes training under him. I had spoken to him about this, told him that the vast difference in standard was not good.”

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Bedrosian, who currently handles 16 athletes, accepted that the heavy load was turning out to be a problem. “Yes, for the elite level it is a big number and I cannot take care of everybody since I’m alone here,” said the Romanian.

‘Not easy’

“In technical events, like jumps, you have to work with each athlete separately. For example, I need to work on Arpinder’s hop, Kamalraj’s step in separate sessions, it’s not like coaching a football team. It’s not easy, I slept for just three hours last night. In future, I can handle a bigger number but now, I have to focus on the Asian Games. Because my jumpers failed in the Commonwealth Games and I don’t want a failure in the Asian Games.”

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A couple of months ago, Bedrosian had two assistant coaches — Olympian long jumper Sanjay Kumar Rai and former triple jump international Bibu Mathew — but disciplinary issues forced him to drop the former. “Sanjay took Ankit Sharma (long jump national record holder) and Arpinder to Patiala for training for about 10 days without consulting me when I had gone to Jakarta for the Asian Games test event in February. That was not proper. Now, he is coaching a high jumper,” he explained.

Bedrosian is now waiting for Bibu Mathew to rejoin the national camp after the recent IAAF Level 1 coaching course. Bedrosian also revealed that triple jumper Rakesh Babu, who was thrown out of the Commonwealth Games Village after a syringe was found in his bag in violation of the Games ‘no-needle’ policy, had rejoined the camp.

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