Mirabai Chanu will deliver in the Paris Olympics, says new High Performance Director Pandoo

Aveenash Pandoo, the new high-performance director of Indian weightlifting, said an elite athlete like Mirabai Chanu should be smart in choosing her competitions and extend her career.

Aveenash Pandoo, who has worked with South Africa and Indonesia national teams, said a change in the mindset of coaches and an athlete-centric approach is essential to develop the sport.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

New high-performance director of Indian weightlifting, Aveenash Pandoo, who has worked with South Africa and Indonesia national teams, said a change in the mindset of coaches and an athlete-centric approach is essential to develop the sport. He is also a member of the International Weightlifting Federation’s coaching and research committee.

Speaking at a virtual press conference organised by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Friday, Pandoo, an athlete-turned-coach, spoke about his vision for India.

“I will sit around a table with SAI and Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) and get to know the environment and start looking at the roadmap – where talent is coming from, why it is coming from that region and not from other regions. Talent development should be coach-led and athlete-centric, surrounded by movement from SAI and IWLF. Coaches education is next on the roadmap,” said Pandoo, a Mauritian based in South Africa.

“I have good backup from the IWF, I am a respectable member. We will put a good structure with the IWLF.”

Smart training

Mirabai Chanu: Not weighed down by expectations  

Stressing that good performance could come without doping, Pandoo said sound education and a strong monitoring system would help curb the menace. “With a solid programme and change in the mindset of coaches (it is possible). A very good understanding of anatomy, physiology, nutrition and coach education and also why doping is not good for athletes (is needed). We have to educate them on the side effects (of doping). Sometimes coaches are greedy. They want their athletes to perform because they get better salaries, better bonuses. But we have to make them understand to train cleanly and smartly. 

“Training the trainer smartly is the key. This is the 21st-century pathway. We are embarking on a new adventure with our coaches, we have to monitor them closely. We have to look at how peaks of certain athletes are shooting up. If we have some doubts, we have to do some investigation, some homework there. So, there will be a whole load of ideas that would be discussed and put through about this point with the SAI and the IWLF.”

Pandoo appointed as first High-Performance Director for weightlifting

Extending career

Pandoo said an elite athlete like Olympics silver medallist Mirabai Chanu should be smart in choosing her competitions and extend her career. “Mirabai has to be very selective on how she chooses her competitions because there are three years adding up to her age (for Paris Olympics). It is not easy. Eko Yuli Irawan from Indonesia is a four-time Olympics medallist. He has proved that it can be done in a very selective and intelligent way of preparing. I am very sure (chief coach) Vijay Sharma will be able to put it together, and they have a very good relationship, and I fully trust that it will happen. Mirabai Chanu will deliver in the Paris Olympics.”

With reference to Mirabai travelling to the USA to get rid of her shoulder and back issues before the Olympics, Pandoo said, “We have to relook at what is currently existing in SAI and IWLF and relook what is the role of a physio, do we need a bio-mechanics (expert), do we need a therapist, so we need athlete management, good recovery management principles, how much load an athlete is doing. We have to find the perfect line between training and recovery so that athletes get the best in terms of their training.”

Pandoo, who would also look after coach and referee development programmes, said, “The landscape is changing, and this is where we have to revisit the coaches' mindset. We have been embarking on the old philosophy. We have been doing the same things over and over again and expecting better results. It is not going to happen. Train, review, monitor, and evaluate should be the way,” he said.

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