Yuri critical of lack of long term planning in athletics

The Ukrainian coach termed Indian athletes a talented bunch who could bring laurels to the country if there was a long term planning on the part of the government and national federation.

Ogorodnik, who is the 400m coach for both men and women, said that hiring him for just seven-eight months would not mean much to the fortunes of the athletes in the Rio Olympics.   -  SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

The controversial athletics coach Yuri Ogorodnik, who last year returned to India for his second stint after being sacked in 2011 in relation to a doping scandal, today said lack of long-term planning in the country has impacted the performance of athletes at the global stage.

The Ukrainian coach termed Indian athletes a talented bunch who could bring laurels to the country if there was a long term planning on the part of the government and national federation.

“In most of the countries, planning is long term, of four years from Olympics to Olympics. These Indian athletes are a talented bunch who can do well at the Olympics. A planning of say one year will not get much,” Ogorodnik said at the sidelines of an event ahead of 38 Indian athletes leaving for Spala in Poland for a training-cum-competition stint.

Ogorodnik refused to say anything on the unsavoury incident that happened in 2011 when he was sacked for his alleged involvement in a doping scandal. “I will not comment on that,” Ogorodnik said tersely.

He also made it known that hiring him for just seven-eight months would not mean much to the fortunes of the athletes in the Rio Olympics. “I just took over (for the second stint) seven-eight months back. It is a short period and the results of the athletes would have been better in Rio Olympics if they (government and AFI) had brought me much before (than the appointment last August),” Ogorodnik, who is the 400m coach for both men and women, said.

He was also critical of the tight schedule during National Championships, which has given the athletes very little recovery time. “You can see heats, semifinals and finals happening on consecutive two days. How can an athlete recover in such situations and in such harsh weather conditions?” he asked, hinting at the recent Federation Cup National Athletics Championships here.

Ogorodnik, however, said that things have got better in the past one year as the government has sanctioned training stints in Turkey earlier last year and now in Poland. “It is getting better in Indian athletics with the federation and the government working together for training and betterment of the athletes. It is a good sign,” he added.

He also predicted that at least 6-7 more athletes will make the Rio Olympics qualifications in the coming months.