Manpreet Kaur can't take a coach to Rio, because officials feel 'she won't win a medal anyway'
Punjab’s Manpreet Kaur created history last year by becoming the first ever Indian female shot-putter to qualify for the Olympics. She smashed an 18-year-old national record at the 55th Senior Open Athletics Championship, after returning from a four year self-imposed hiatus. Despite becoming the first athlete in her event from the country, however, the 25-year-old’s coach Karamjeet Singh is not being allowed to travel with her to Rio, for a bizarre reason.
Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda from her training centre in Poland, Manpreet said, “When I asked a senior Athletics Federation of India (AFI) official about taking my coach he told me, ‘You won’t win a medal, hence what’s the point of sending a coach with you?’ I was immediately taken aback by the statement. I mean, who am I representing here? I’m trying to win a medal for me and my country, not just for myself.
“I have a daughter of four years, who is alone at home; why would I go all the way to Rio just to participate? I felt extremely bad, because the official doesn’t know the importance of my coach going with me. They should understand that I can’t go there and train alone for 10 days,” she added.
Was shocked by the reponse, makes me question who I’m playing for: Manpreet
Manpreet registered a throw of 17.98m to break Harbans Kaur’s previous national record by more than half a metre. She went on, “I am giving my 110% to win a medal at Rio, but if my coach doesn’t go with me who will squat me during training? Shot put training mostly includes lifting a lot of weights, which could lead to injury if I perform them on my own. Yes, I do know the basic ones, but of course we have a routine planned prior to the Olympics, which will completely get disrupted. Even the best athletes in the world have their coaches travelling with them.”
Her coach and husband Karamjeet is attempting to reach Rio by August 10 by using his personal finances. He said, “Even if we raise the money from our end, how do you expect us to get all the formalities done on time? She will be leaving from Poland on July 25th, after which she will be there in Rio for 12 days until her competition. For me to raise the finances and get all the formalities done, it will take at least 12 days. I can only reach there by August 10 as I can’t leave before August 6 and her competition is three days after that. As per her routing she won’t be training two days before the event. So there is no point. It would’ve been better if we would’ve trained in India as she could have worked on the things that have actually improved her throws.”
Manpreet also confirmed that she has been throwing 19m during training, a massive jump since her Olympic qualification. She added, “Throwing 19 is not that big a deal, it’s just about doing it consistently. That consistency will be imposed, only when I’m under training in Rio. I sincerely request AFI and the Sports Ministry to allow my coach to travel with me as the results will be there to see. I also don’t want to be injured during wrong training before the event. This will affect our athletics and women’s shot put’s future adversely.”
Manpreet also won gold at this year’s South Asian Games by registering a throw of 17.96 m, which was close to her personal best and national record. The AFI was unavailable for a comment on this issue.