Mauritius-born Aveenash Pando, India’s high-performance director in weightlifting quits his job

Weightlifting - Commonwealth Games: Day 2
Pandoo had no role in supervising Mirabai Chanu or other senior weightlifters

Mauritius-born India’s high-performance director in weightlifting, Aveenash Pandoo, quit his job last week, a senior official of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) confirmed the development. He was based at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala.

The 46-year-old foreign expert based out of South Africa was appointed in January this year to oversee the training of young Indian weightlifters at the National Centre of Excellence (NCOE).

Pandoo’s contract ran until the 2024 Olympic Games. Quitting a high-profile post last week within a span of 12 months raises eyebrows.

“He wasn’t able to adjust to the Indian system,” that was all one of the Indian weightlifting coaches associated with NCOE told Sportskeeda.

Pandoo, it is learnt, has got a job in Cambodia. Whether he was unhappy with the current Indian system or quit his job for better perks couldn’t be confirmed as the foreign expert didn’t respond to repeated efforts to contact him.

Pandoo was drawing a salary of INR 44 lakh

The Indian Weightlifting Federation and SAI approved Pandoo’s annual salary of $54,000 (Rs 44 lakh app) in January 2022.

“His (Pandoo) main job was to develop potential weightlifters to excel at the international level and improve coaching structure to produce high quality athletes,” SAI in a statement said in January.

Apart from Patiala, SAI has NCOE weightlifting centres in Imphal, Itanagar, Aurangabad and Lucknow. There are over 100 promising weightlifters, including girls in five centres spread across India.

On Friday, SAI Headquarters in Delhi didn’t respond to a text message on Pandoo quitting his job within a span of one year.

The foreign expert was also a member of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) development and Education Panel (2013-2017) and conducted coaching courses in India.

However, Pandoo had no role in supervising the practice of senior weightlifters, including Tokyo Olympic Games silver medallist Mirabai Chanu. Vijay Sharma is the chief national coach.

Meanwhile, C Rajan, the weightlifting coach of Patiala's NCOE has been transferred to Andaman and Nicobar Islands from Punjab. Incidentally, there is no weightlifting centre in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Rajan might have to work from scratch to scout talent.

Quick Links

Edited by Prasen Moudgal