AFI sacks Neeraj Chopra’s German coach Uwe Hohn


The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has announced the end of its association with national chief javelin coach Uwe Hohn and said that the federation was “not happy” with his performance.

The AFI meanwhile, also said that it will hire two new foreign coaches soon.

Significantly, the contract of the 59-year-old Hohn, a former world record holder, was only until the end of the Tokyo Olympics.

While speaking during a press conference at the end of a two-day executive council meeting of the federation that was also attended by AFI planning committee chairman Lalit K Bhanot and vice-president Anju Bobby George, AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said: “We are bringing two more coaches and we are changing Uwe Hohn as we are not happy with his performance. We are looking for a foreign coach for Toor (shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor).”

Hohn was appointed as chief coach in November 2017 for one year to train the likes of Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra and two other Tokyo Olympians in Shivpal Singh and Annu Rani.

Just before the Tokyo Olympics, Hohn had sparked a controversey after saying that he had been blackmailed into accepting his contract by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and AFI.

However, Hohn’s claim was rejected by both the bodies.

Further speaking on AFI’s vision to improve the standards at the grassroot level, Sumariwalla said: “To reach the next level, we have to redesign the junior programme, how to do talent identification better to improve it further, we held discussions with athletes and coaches, both former and present athletes from all states.”

“Athletes need more competitions, this is mainly for seniors to prepare for larger competitions. Next year we have a tight calendar — with the World Championships, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. Athletes need competition in preparatory period so that their bodies remain in good nick. So the plan is to introduce build-up competitions at the zonal level so that athletes don’t have to travel far,” he added.

Further elaborating the body’s plan, he said: “We have decided to bring in foreign caches in junior too to strengthen their foundation and basics. Apart from inter-district, we have to identify pockets in every states, how to bring them, what should be the parameters…Also, there will be an open national event for the next five years in Jamshedpur.”

“We need experienced coaches who have produced world champions and Olympic champions, with all the latest knowledge. Our coaches will also work alongside the foreign coaches. In last one year we have already developed 650 coaches and 1500 in pre level across various levels,” he added.

Speaking on the upgradation of the coaching programme, he said: “We will start with grassroot as once foundation is strong, elite will automatically get stronger. This is a World Athletics course and they will award the certificates. Those coaches are for our identified events — 400m, walk, javelin, long jump and triple jump.”

“There will be a different set of coaches for junior and senior athletes. We have recently identified Kerala, Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana. A coaching education programme has started, we need at least 5000 level one coaches if we wish to cover 500 district,” he added.

News Desk

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