The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has said the extension of contracts for all existing foreign coaches of prominent Indian wrestlers for the next Olympic cycle will be taken up only after the National Championship in November. The list includes Shako Bentinidis, who coaches Bajrang Punia, Kamal Malikov for Ravi Dahiya, and other wrestling coaches.
The wrestling governing body will also decide if a foreign coach for women will be required at the national camp. The wrestling federation has not approached any foreign trainer since American coach Andrew Cook was sacked. The WFI is also reportedly not too keen on a foreign coach as it has not helped the female grapplers much.
The WFI also sacked Iranian Hossein Karimi, the men's freestyle coach, in October 2019 for throwing tantrums. Since then, Jagmander Singh has been overseeing preparations as chief national coach.
The World Championship is set to begin on October 2 in Oslo, Norway while the wrestling National Championship is scheduled in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh from November 19 to November 21.
Inputs from wrestling fraternity to be considered
WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar, speaking to journalists and news agencies, said the wrestlers’ inputs will also be considered when the federation takes a call on the extension of contracts for all foreign coaches. He said:
"We have not yet held a meeting with the wrestlers. We will also take their inputs. All the wrestlers are now focussed on the World Championship and after that, they will take some rest before the nationals. Only after that we will discuss this issue with our prominent wrestlers."
According to sources, it is however expected that Bentindis and Malikov will be given contract extensions. The wrestling federation will, however, look for a new coach for Deepak Punia as his coach from Russia, Murad Gaidarov, was sacked after he assaulted a referee at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics.