Shivpal Singh and Annu Rani, two of the country’s top javelin throwers alleged that German coach Uwe Hohn trains foreign athletes when the Indian team travels abroad for exposure tours. Annu Rani also said that the German coach has an overbearing nature.
Shivpal, who qualified for the upcoming Olympics early last year and trains under Hohn.
“He (Hohn) also trains some other foreign athletes when we are overseas, ignoring us,” the duo said in a joint statement.
“It was in 2019 when we were training in Poland. He is more interested in training abroad due to certain reasons,” Shivpal and Annu told PTI.
Annu Rani who is expected to qualify for the Olympics on the basis of world rankings even though she is yet to breach the qualifying mark of 64m had been training under the German before she decided against it because of his working style.
“I have not trained with him due to his working style. I decided not to train under him early this year as he has an overbearing nature,” Annu Rani told PTI.
The Olympics women’s javelin event will have 32 competitors and Annu is sitting pretty at 19th in the Road to Tokyo list, which also includes all those who have breached the entry standard.
The 58-year-old Hohn, a former world record holder javelin thrower, could not be reached for his comment despite repeated attempts. His contract ends in September this year.
A coach on the payrolls of the government cannot train athletes other than Indians during official tours abroad.
“He is more interested in training abroad which we do not agree due to the prevailing situation as we want to save ourselves and avoid risk when travelling,” the two throwers said from their training base at NIS Patiala.
Hohn on Wednesday said the Sports Authority of India and the Athletics Federation of India “did not do enough” to provide high-level competitive training for its athletes.
Hohn was appointed javelin coach in November 2017 to train the likes of Shivpal and another Olympic-bound star athlete Neeraj Chopra.
But Chopra, an Olympic medal hopeful, does not train with Hohn anymore and has been placed under biomechanical expert Klaus Bartonietz for the last two years.
The duo said the Athletics Federation of India tried to arrange a few invitational meets abroad but they had to be cancelled due to travel restrictions in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“What can we do, we wanted foreign exposure and competitions and the AFI tried but did not happen ultimately. We are happy training at the NIS and we have two domestic events this month,” they said.
The Indian Grand Prix 4 (June 21) and National Inter-State Championships (June 25-29), to be held at NIS Patiala, are the two domestic Olympic qualifying events.
“In the last one year of Covid-19, we have been kept in a protected environment by Sports Authority of India and the AFI in Patiala as well as in Bhubaneswar and provided good food, accommodation and facilities including medical support and recommended supplements.
“The AFI and the government imported more than 200 javelins and provided two javelin machines which are rarely available in other countries. We are fully prepared for the Olympics and we will try to give our best in the Olympics.”