Dejan Papic appointed India's table tennis coach, will join in August

Dejan Papic joined as the head coach of the Indian table tennis team after signing a one-year contract that will see him in charge through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) had short-listed Dejan Papic back in March but it was only a couple of weeks ago that SAI sent him the contract. (Representational Image)   -  Getty Images

The uncertainty over Dejan Papic's joining as the new head coach of the Indian table tennis team came to an end on Tuesday when the Canadian accepted a one-year contract offered by the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

The Indian paddlers haven't had a head coach since the Asian Games last year, and have lost crucial time ahead of the qualification events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) had short-listed Papic back in March but it was only a couple of weeks ago that SAI sent him the contract. And there was a further delay in the process as Papic took time to sign the contract owing to administrative issues.

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“He was travelling and probably that is why the delay in signing the contract. But now he has and he should be in India early next month,” TTFI secretary M. P. Singh said.

Leading players like Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan have already expressed their frustration over the delay in the coach’s appointment.

“Massimo (Costantini) had to go for some family issues and after that a coach was finalised but we don’t know when he will be joining. Without a coach it is difficult to prepare for the Olympics,” Sharath had said at an event on Monday.

“You see the results, it is just me, G Sathiyan and Manika (Batra) is doing well. We are training on our own and taking care of our singles training but for doubles we need specialised coaching.

“The coach came for the world championship. Now in next 11 months, he has to figure out everything. By the time he does, it will be December. Our preparation for singles is going on but mixed doubles is an issue,” he added.

Papic will be paid USD 7000 per month and his contract will be up for renewal after the Olympics.