Costantini bids adieu citing personal reasons

The ill-health of his wife has made it difficult for Costantini to spend more time away from home this year.

Massimo Costantini with Manika Batra during the Commonwealth Games 2018. (File Image)   -  GETTY IMAGES

Massimo Costantini, the name synonymous with the success of the Indian table tennis players in this year’s Commonwealth Games, World championship and Asian Games, has chosen not to renew the contract.

For the time being, the Italian has cited ‘personal reasons’ for not being able to extend his association with the Indian team. The ill-health of his wife made it difficult for Costantini to spend more time away from home this year. For the next one year, he will be International Table Tennis Federation’s High Performance Director.

READ | Indian paddlers have earned respect around the world, says Costantini

“This job allows me to work from home and also limit my travel to fulfil my family responsibilities,” said the two-time Head coach of the Indian team, before leaving for home in the early hours of Monday.

Prior to his two-year contract from September 2016 following India’s disappointing show at Rio Olympics, Costantini was instrumental in the host winning a gold, a silver and three bronze medals in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

This year, under Costantini, India’s haul was an unprecedented 10 medals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Significantly, India returned with at least a medal in each of the seven categories, including two team golds and a singles gold, for Manika Batra.

Thereafter, in the World team championship, Indian men exceeded all expectations by finishing tied 13th in what was its best ever performance till date.

The gold medal table tennis teams of India with Costantini.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

“For me, the two bronze medals in the Asian Games were highly satisfying,” said Costantini and continued, “beating the Japanese, who were without some of their top players but still stronger than the Indians, was incredible. The mixed doubles bronze for Sharath Kamal and Manika was no less significant. Both played their best to beat the strong Koreans. I was very happy that in my last assignment, the players won medals in the Asian Games. Honestly, I would love to return to India in future."

Sharath acknowledged the contribution of Costantini and said, “I think, he proved to the luckiest coach we ever had. We won medals in events that were not expected. That apart, Costantini had great skills as an administrator, who understood the Indian system well. We all will miss him.”

The Table Tennis Federation of India secretary M. P. Singh said, “We requested Costantini to stay on, or at least accompany Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath for the upcoming Youth Olympic Games. At the same time, we saw his reason to leave. We would love to have him back whenever he is ready.”

In the meantime, TTFI has asked Costantini help finalise his replacement over the next fortnight.

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