Foreign TT coach arrives in India

Massimo Costantini was with the Indian team from early 2009 till the end of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, guiding India to five medals including a men’s doubles gold and a silver in the women’s team event.

Costantini visited the venue of the ongoing National Ranking (Central Zone) championships to have a close look at the players.   -  Subir Roy

Italian Massimo Costantini has returned to India to be the national team’s chief coach for at least a two-year period. He takes charge of the team from October 1. Having arrived in New Delhi a couple of days ago, the Italian visited the venue of the ongoing National Ranking (Central Zone) championships to have a close look at the players.

Max, as his fondly known and called by players, was with the Indian team from early 2009 till the end of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, guiding India to five medals including a men’s doubles gold and a silver in the women’s team event.

Soon after leaving India, Max has had a long-term stint with a US club and guided some of its players to glory. He was also the US team coach at Rio Olympics. The federation had roped in Peter Engel in 2013 but the German’s contract was not renewed at the end of the 2014 Asian Games. Since then, table tennis did not have a foreign coach.

However, a conscientious decision was taken with support from the Sports Authority of India to bring back Max, who is known for his excellent rapport with the Indian players.

“All the players know him well and have a very good understanding with him. This was one of the reasons for bringing him back. And this time Costantini will focus on the junior and youth teams and will also have a say in selection matters. We are investing on youngsters and have to prepare them for major Games ahead,” said Dhanraj Choudhary, secretary general of TTFI.

Max has his agenda clear. “I have an onerous task of bringing back things on track. I have been entrusted with a big responsibility and I am hopeful I will live up to the federation’s expectations,” said the 58-year-old after his arrival. “I am expecting a brief from TTFI soon so that I can straightaway start working. The TTFI wanted me to visit this event here so that I can look for promising talents,” he added.