Tokyo 2020: National rowing coach, SAI athletics coach provide glimpses of success behind the scenes

Chief national rowing coach Ismail Baig and athletics coach N. Ramesh faced personal crisis even while nurturing athletes for India's Olympics conquest in the disciplines.

(Left) Chief national rowing coach Ismail Baig . (Right) SAI athletics coach N. Ramesh with sprinter Dutee Chand.   -  Image one- Special Arrangement. Image two- FILE PHOTO: V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

By all means, they have untold stories even while scripting the success stories of their trainees. And, not all the coaches who untiringly work behind the scene to mould the gifted athletes into lead performers on some of the biggest stages of the sporting world like the Olympics, get their due.

Just consider two shining examples - chief national rowing coach Ismail Baig and the athletics coach N. Ramesh.

Not many might be aware that the Guntur-born Ismail Baig, who trained the two Olympics-bound rowers Arvind Singh and Arjun Lal Jat (men’s double sculls) at the Army Rowing Node (ARN) in Pune - had to summon all the courage to stay back with his rowers even as his wife was battling the COVID-19 during the peak of the second wave a few weeks ago.

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Ismail Baig just couldn't even think of leaving the bio-bubble at ARN even for a day as that would mean breaking pandemic protocols. He just didn't want to go all the efforts and planning of months down the drain by just one move.

“I preferred to stay back and fortunately my family was understanding about the task I have on hand. So, I was monitoring their medical treatment from Pune and by God’s grace and a few well-wishers, they could come out of the crisis,” Ismail Baig said.

The rowing coach he was with his family only for a brief stay in the last six months as ARN was his ‘second home’.

The case of 55-year-old Sports Authority of India (SAI) athletics coach, N. Ramesh was no different.

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His wife was bedridden (health issues) for a few weeks ago and the coach, who is the mentor and coach of sprinter Dutee Chand (competing in 100 m in Tokyo), faced a similar crisis.

But, Ramesh too stayed back in Patiala with the Tokyo-bound athletes because of the prevalent bio-bubble.

“I didn’t dare to think of even moving out of the national camp. But, fortunately, my family members insisted not to bother about them but to focus on my coaching,” he said.

And, there were many instances when they stayed away from personal issues to be with the trainees.

“There is no better joy for us than to see our trainees scale the pedestal of stardom. Any other distraction is secondary for us,” the spirited duo of coaches signed off.

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