The Commonwealth and the Asian Games may be less than a year away but India is unable to appoint foreign coaches for nine disciplines due to red tape, with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) awaiting the sports ministry’s approval for its recommendations.
Reason: The ministry is yet to find a new sports secretary to sign the files after P K Deb retired last month. The secretary has to approve the appointments before the sports minister gives the final nod. Hoping to hasten the process, SAI director general Jiji Thomson apprised sports minister Jitender Singh and youth affairs secretary Rajeev Gupta of the situation on Monday.
Consequently, Australian Terry Walsh’s appointment as the men’s hockey chief coach was announced on Tuesday, nearly three weeks after his name was recommended.
Besides Walsh, SAI had suggested nine names to the ministry: Chae Woong Lim (recurve archery; South Korea), Dee Wilde (compound archery; USA), Pavel Smirnov (shooting; Russia), Peter Engel (table tennis; Germany), Jim Holt (gymnastics; USA), his wife Hannah who will coach women gymnasts, Roelant Oltmans (hockey high performance director; Holland), Remon Remaro Drake (boxing; USA) and Assen Andreev Gladinov (volleyball; Russia).
“We have performed so well in the last Olympics and taking into account that next year we have two major events lined up, we are trying to get the best coaches,” Thomson said. “However, since the sports secretary is yet to be appointed, we are awaiting an official approval from the ministry.”
The sports minister’s office did not respond to an email from The Indian Express. A ministry official said the appointment had been delayed as the Cabinet appointments committee, which decides in consultation with the PM, had not been able to do so as the PM “has been travelling a lot lately”.