The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has promoted Radhakrishnan Nair as chief coach of Indian athletics, it was announced on Friday.

Nair, 62, had been a deputy to Bahadur Singh, who resigned from the post in July, has has been the acting chief coach since then.

Nair is a certified technical Official and World Athletics Level-5 coach. The AFI said that his appointment has also been endorsed by the Sports Authority of India, the AFI said in a statement.

“It is a very challenging job and has a lot of responsibilities. You can say that it is a 24×7 job like BSNL,” Nair told IANS.

“I was with my chief coach Bahadur Singh for about eight years, I got very good guidance. You can say I was trained to become chief coach by Bahadur Singhji. I think I am more responsible than when I was younger,” he said

Nair said the job comes with a lot of responsibility.

“The responsibility is very high now. The chief coach is also responsible now for the second tier athletes at the National Centres of Excellence. Coaching was very difficult during the pandemic but we managed to not let any of the elite athletes be infected by coronavirus. We kept them in Patiala and Bengaluru and followed all the Standard Operating Procedures and hopefully within a month, as my president said, we may get the first choice for the vaccine,” said Nair.

AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said that Nair is first Indian with an International Coaching Enrichment Programme Certificate from the International Olympic Committee.

“We are happy we will be able to maintain continuity of our planning since Radhakrishnan has been the Deputy Chief Coach for seven years now,” AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said in a statement.

“We are particularly pleased that his ideas of implementation of modern coaching methods and the use of sports science in the development of young athletes have worked well. At the AFI, we believe that he will also continue to work towards improving the standard of coaching across the country, especially at the grass-roots level, with his stress against early specialisation and over-training,” said the AFI President.