Inderjeet can train wherever he wants: AFI coach

Kolkata, Sep 17 (IANS) Athletics Federation of India (AFI) chief coach Bahadur Singh on Thursday said shot putter Inderjeet Singh can train wherever he wishes ahead of next year’s Rio Olympics.

Inderjeet had threatened to quit the government-sponsored Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme a few days ago, stating that the sports ministry was not paying heed to his wishes of going abroad for practice.

The towering shot putter, who is representing Haryana at the ongoing 55th National Open Athletic Championship at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre here, registered a new meet record on Thursday with an attempt of 19.82 metres.

He broke the previous record of 19.59m set by Bahadur Singh in 2003.

“Inderjeet can go anywhere and train, it is his wish,” Bahadur Singh told reporters here.

“A few sponsors have approached me saying they would fund his training abroad. It will take just 10 days to arrange for everything and send him, it is not a big issue.”

“Earlier when we were asking him to go abroad, he said he wanted a job before anything else. He has just come into the forefront in the last few years, everything takes time and eventually he will get what he wants.”

Asked about his coaches without whom Inderjeet has said that he would not train if he has a chance of going to the United States, Bahadur Singh said: “We need to look into this, there are world class coaches there, but if need be we will arrange for it.”

Speaking about sprinter Dutee Chand who was recently cleared to compete after being embroiled in a gender controversy, the coach said: “If she wants to get back into the TOP scheme she has to do well here and in other meets as well.”

Bahadur Singh also rued the lack of sports infrastructure in the country and pointed out that there were none in rural areas.

“How will new athletes come up? In the rural areas there are no basic facilities to train, and so there are very less participation. We should follow the Chinese model of education and sports where in schools you go wearing track pants and after classes you train there,” he said.

However, Bahadur Singh refused to believe that Indian athletes lose momentum after qualifying for the Olympics.

“Nowadays we go there to compete, we have a few athletes too who can perform at the highest level. We are doing quite well in major competitions.”

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