Winter Olympics 2018: IOA clears ex-Olympian Nadeem Iqbal as Jagdish Singh's coach for PyeongChang
One half of India's contingent to the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, Jagdish Singh is now set to travel to South Korea for the Games after some initial confusion regarding who will accompany him to the East Asian nation as his coach.
The cross-country Nordic skier was supposed to fly out to South Korea on Saturday, along with India's winter sports icon Shiva Keshavan (luge) making up the two-man contingent.
However, the 26-year-old was caught in the middle of a wrangle between three associations -- the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), the Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI), and his employers the Indian Army.
While the Army, along with Jagdish had suggested one of their own coaches to travel with the skier to South Korea, the WGFI had reportedly recommended completely different names.
With this confusion circling over his head, Jagdish was forced to miss his flight on Saturday evening. There were even doubts as to whether he would withdraw his participation in the event over this issue.
Now, however, the IOA has given the go-ahead to Subedar Nadeem Iqbal, who had been nominated by the Army, to travel to South Korea as Jagdish's coach, the latter confirmed to Sportskeeda.
Nadeem Iqbal had himself participated in the 2014 Sochi Olympics in the 15 km cross-country Nordic category, the same as Jagdish. However, he had to participate as an Independent athlete.
When asked about the confusion regarding his coaching staff at the Olympics, Jagdish said, "We should always maintain the country' reputation. Whoever goes with the Indian contingent should make India proud and not bring the country to shame."
With the confusion cleared, Jagdish is now set to fly out to South Korea on February 7, just two days prior to the opening day of the Winter Games. However, this has not deterred the 26-year-old's ambition whose event begins on February 16.
"My event begins on the 16th, so even though I will reach there a bit late, I’ll still have another week to acclimatize myself to the local conditions," said Jagdish. "With regards to practice, I’m already doing enough of that here as well."
On the other hand, WGFI general secretary Roshan Lal Thakur, who was nominated to be a part of the contingent by the federation itself, now seems to be uncertain about his inclusion in the contingent.
"As of now, I am supposed to be in the contingent. But if they say tomorrow that I would not be included in the contingent, then I have no problems with that either," Roshan Lal said to SK. "That is for the IOA to decide. They had offered to send me as an official, and I took it up, as it would be an honour on my part."
With the confusion cleared (at least on the part of the athlete and his coach), Jagdish can now concentrate on his event at the Winter Games, rather than worry about who his coach would be.