TOPS trains Indian athletes in education clinic

National athletics coach, Dronacharya awardee Bahadur Singh emphasised that the facilities and coaching staff at the institute were world class, but the athletes needed to be regular in training to get better results.

Asian Games gold medallist Swapna Barman, World champion weightifter Mirabai Chanu, World under-20 champion Hima Das and Youth Olympics weightlifting champion Jeremy Lalrinnunga, enjoy Athletes Education training session at the NIS, Patiala, on Thursday.   -  KAMESH SRINIVASAN

The former national hockey coach and Dronacharya awardee, Rajinder Singh, warned the athletes to be cautious but confident in dealing with the media, during the Athletes Education clinic organised by the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) on Thursday.

“Media is not your friend. It can take you to the top. It can bring you down also. Be alert. Record when you speak to the media. Then listen to the recording. If you feel something is not right, get it rectified quickly,” said Rajinder, even as he attempted to highlight the ‘’big difference’’ from the print and electronic media.

“We used to run away from press. Communication was a problem. Coming from government schools, speaking English was difficult,” conceded Rajinder, who was part of the gold winning team in the Moscow Olympics in 1980.

National athletics coach, Dronacharya awardee Bahadur Singh emphasised that the facilities and coaching staff at the institute were world class, but the athletes needed to be regular in training to get better results.

He was particularly severe on the slower timings of the World under-20 champion in 400 metres, the 19-year-old Hima Das who had won a gold and two silver medals in the Asian Games.

‘Continuous training’

“Continuous training is an important issue. I spoke about her with the Assam Chief Minister also,” said a concerned Bahadur.

“If you want to achieve something, you need to be focused 24 hours a day. There is no dearth of talent. If we train well, nobody can stop us,” said Bahadur.

The former national boxing coach, Dronacharya awardee G.S. Sandhu, recalled the fine efforts of Gurcharan Singh in Sydney apart from Vijender Singh winning the Olympic medal in Beijing.

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“Akhil (Kumar) beat the world No.1 and No.3 in Beijing. He was unlucky to lose the quarterfinals. Many coaches had told me, after seeing him fight, that you have gold in your team,” recalled Sandhu.

He said that Indian boxing is much better off now, after agonising through the tough period between 2014 to 2016 when the national federation was suspended by the world body, leading to international exposure being drained.

“How many of our athletes say that I want to win the gold. We have to believe in ourselves. There has already been two boxing medals from the Olympics. We can win more than one boxing medal in Tokyo,” said Sandhu.

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While the seasoned coaches touched the relevant areas, trainer Vipin Sarin entertained the athletes with a sparkling presentation on conducting themselves with pride and confidence at all times. Legal expert Shweta Gupta talked to the athletes about the importance of understanding the contracts, before they signed them, and being aware of their rights and responsibilities.

Dr. P.S.M. Chandran enlightened the athletes on the anti-doping measures. There was considerable response from the athletes as they sought clarification on many areas, including the situation when they were being defamed in society before being proven guilty.