The Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Wednesday announced it has appointed 398 coaches at various levels across 21 disciplines to prepare for important tournaments including the Paris and Los Angeles Olympics.
The new batch of coaches and assistant coaches has a host of eminent names, including Asian Games gold medallist rower Bajrang Lal Thakar. He joins as rowing coach.
Commonwealth Championship gold medallist grappler Shilpi Sheoran joins as an assistant coach in wrestling, while Olympian Jincy Phillip will serve as an athletics coach.
Pugilist Pranamika Borah, multiple medallist in leading international championships, joins as a boxing coach.
"The recruitment comes in the wake of the effort of the Ministry of Youth Affairs of Sports to provide 360 degree support to athletes as they prepare for important national and international competitions, including Olympic 2024, 2028," a sports ministry release said.
Of the total number of 398, 101 coaches are joining on deputation from PSUs and other government bodies.
"I am happy that a number of ex-athletes who have competed at the highest international level of competition and won medals have applied for these posts and have been selected," Sports Minister Anurag Thakur said.
"Their (the ex-international athletes) inclusion in the system will mean that besides training athletes in the sport itself, they will be able to train them for mental toughness which is the key to success when competing at the world stage." Speaking about what he looks forward to in the new assignment, Thakar, an Arjuna awardee, said, "I am grateful to the Sports Authority of India for giving me a chance to give back to sports as a coach especially at a time when water sports in India has a great chance of making an impact at international competitions.
"I am training the team for the Asian Games and I am confident that by fielding athletes in maximum number of disciplines we will be able to add to the country's medal tally in the upcoming Asian Games." Thakar added that water sports in India has got an added push with SAI's National Centers of Excellence in Jagatpura and Alleppey which are world class infrastructure for water sports training.
There are four Arjuna Awardees, a Dhyanchand and Dhronacharya awardee each among those who have been selected for the positions.
Besides ex-international athletes, those who have completed their Diploma in Sports Coaching from NSNIS Patiala or a recognized Indian or foreign University have also been inducted.
Several SAI coaches who were previously on contract, but whose contracts had ended, have been recruited back in service, as per their eligibility.