New Delhi: For the first time, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has managed to procure services of a coach from Asian powerhouse Iran with Hossein Karimi set to join as one of the three foreign coaches along with Andrew Cook of USA and Georgia's Temo Kazarashvili on a one-year contract.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Wednesday approved the appointment of Hossein to coach men's freestyle grapplers. Cook will guide the women's wrestlers while controversial Kazarashvili will coach the men's Greco Roman wrestlers.
The WFI was keen to rope in Russia's Farniev Irbek Valentinovich as women's coach but by the time bureaucratic hurdles were cleared, he got another assignment.
The first assignment for the three foreign coaches would be the Under-23 World Championship, scheduled to be held in Bucharest from November 12-18.
"It is first time that we have coaches from Iran and USA. Iran was never interested in providing coaches to India but of late, the relations between the two federations have improved, so we managed to rope in Karimi," WFI Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar told PTI.
Karimi was involved with Iran's team as an assistant coach at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where the country won five medals including a gold in men's free style through Hassan Yazdani.
"Keeping in mind the demand and requirement of India's top wrestlers, we have hired foreign coaches. They want personal attention during training. We are hoping that along with the Indian coaches, these foreign coaches will be able to help our wrestlers in a big way," Tomar added.
Asked about the appointment of Kazarashvili, who was suspended for favouring an Uzbekistan wrestler during the Rio Games, Tomar said, "He says he never did that and it was just an allegation. And it's mistake in past. We are hopeful that he can produce good results. He is a good coach and a former world champion. We did not have a better option."
Kazarashvili had won both junior (1979) and senior (1982) world championship titles.
"The women's grapplers have improved a lot in the US. Getting Cook on board is not a bad deal at all."
India's current national coaches — Jagmander Singh (men's freestyle), Kuldeep Singh Malik (women's) and Kuldeep Singh (Greco Roman) will continue to work with the wrestlers at national camps.
Updated Date: Sep 22, 2018 17:48 PM