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Wrestler's US training upsets coach

Source: PTI
June 15, 2004 20:24 IST
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With less than two months to go for the Athens Olympics, a top Indian wrestler's training programme in the United States has triggered off a controversy, with his chief coach calling for stern action against him for showing "disrespect" to the government's planned training schedule.

While the coach claimed that Mukesh Khatri, India's lone entry in the Greco-Roman category at the mega event, had planned the US trip without his knowledge at a time when a trip to Bulgaria has been scheduled, the grappler said his trip has been cleared by the government and the Wrestling Federation of India president is "aware" of it.

Peeved by Khatri's decision to pursue an independent training schedule in the US, chief coach Gian Singh has lodged a complaint with the Sports Ministry and made it clear that the responsibility of his performance would be on the ministry.

In a letter to the Sports Secretary, Singh said the Athens-bound grappler had not only skipped the training camp but has also "shown no respect whatsoever to the Government of India's planned schedule under a foreign expert coach.

"It is learnt from a newspaper report that Khatri is planning a training programme in the USA despite the Government of India hiring a foreign coach at Rs 2 lakh (200,000) per month for Olympic qualifying wrestlers' training," Singh, who was in Delhi to meet top government officials, said in his letter.

Singh said Khatri's US training stint could not be considered "approved" by the federation.

"A player is allowed foreign tour only when federation president or secretary signs the letter while Khatri got his letter signed only by the treasurer," he said.

Singh accused Khatri of evading the national training camp at Patiala for trivial reasons, like attending a 21-day (Railways) departmental training at New Delhi.

"The training is of trivial nature and department could have imparted his training at a later stage seeing the importance of Olympics 2004," the letter said.

"Khatri is insisting upon deployment of his personal coach instead of the chief coach for reasons unknown," Singh said.

Khatri, however, said he is more comfortable with his personal coach and the chief coach's reaction was prompted by a sense of "insecurity".

"May be he wants to go to Athens but since I'm the only Greco-Roman wrestler and I also plan to take my personal coach his chance would go down," Khatri said.

The wrestler said he will leave tomorrow for the 45-day training programme at the Olympic Training Centre in Colorado Springs.

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