India is far away from becoming a powerhouse of sports and the Olympic medal tally this time, which doubled from three to six from Beijing 2008 to London 2012, is a reflection of that. And the reasons for the same are many. From an apathetic public to corrupt politicians gnawing away at resources meant for developing sports, India has the perfect recipe for being in this state where they’re in sports almost seven decades after independence.
Despite all these barriers, however, there are some people who have quietly worked in the background to turn things around for Indian sports. They fight the conditions and the structures that are far from perfect to get the best for their disciples. They make sacrifices that hardly ever get recognized but help them in establishing a connection with the player and make champions out of them. These are the coaches who work day in and day out for not their, but their disciples’ glory.
Even if sports in the country is moving inch by inch in the right direction, it now thankfully is moving. And the credit for it goes to some men India have been lucky to have. Here is a look at 5 coaches who have quietly gone on changing the face of Indian sports.
#1 Laszlo Szucsak, Rifle Shooting
At the turn of the millennium, Shooting was just like any other non-cricketing sport in India. Neither did our shooters perform spectacularly to make people take notice of the sport, nor did the public have a great interest in following it. The sport was clearly in dire need of icons. Entered Hungarian Laszlo Szucsak in 1998 and changes followed.
Considered as a high-performance coach, the rifle coach of the Indian shooting team first gave India a star in Anjali Bhagwat and also helped a teenager by the name of Abhinav Bindra to remove the chinks in his armour.
His first stint lasted only two years but it was to be followed by an even more fruitful stint from 2004-2009. During this time he saw Abhinav Bindra climb up the podium in Beijing apart from winning the World Championship Gold in Zagreb in 2006. Szucsak also worked closely with Gagan Narang, and although he wasn’t around by the time Narang won his London Bronze, his contributions were duly acknowledged by the shooter.