Kamal feels bureaucratic process behind delay in coach selection
By Rohit Mundayur
New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) Ace paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal said that the cumbersome process of hiring a new coach for the Indian national team was a big reason as to why they were without a coach since the end of the Asian Games in September 2018. Italian Massimo Constantini, credited with turning around the fortunes of the country in the sport, left his post as head coach of the national team after the 2018 Asiad and it was only on Tuesday that new coach Dejan Papic was officially announced.
Speaking during the opening press conference of the third season of Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) on Wednesday, Kamal said that even after the Table Tennis Federation of India identified a coach, the bureaucratic process of completing the hiring, coupled by the fact that this was an election year slowed down the process significantly.
"I think every time a coach left the national team, getting a new coach has been difficult because of the bureaucratic setup and because of the elections. I think the process (of signing a new coach) is a little cumbersome. Even though TTFI had identified a coach, it took its own time," Kamal, representing Chennai Lions, said. The third season of the UTT starts on July 25 and ends on August 11.
The 37-year-old said that new coach Papic's role would be to adjust to the system that is in place at the moment instead of trying to make drastic changes with the 2020 Olympics just a year away. "There are many areas we need improvements on but for now, Tokyo 2020 is the focus. We now have a system in place and the players have carried on without the coach and have been doing well. Players like me and Sathiyan (Gnanasekaran) have been doing this for a long time without a coach. So we have to now come to terms with the coach that this is the way we have been doing it for a long time and so you need to come along into the system instead of trying to create a new system. You can create your system after the Olympics," he said.
Kamal said that the reason the Papic shouldn't be trying to change too many things is that it takes time for players to understand and adjust to a new system and for the coach himself to know what works best for his wards. This normally takes a period of four years, which is the time between two Olympics or Commonwealth Games or Asian Games, and so imposing a new system so close to an Olympics is not good for the side's prospects in Tokyo.
(Rohit Mundayur can be contacted on email@example.com)