Former world champions Farokh Tarapore, Homi Motivala and Nitin Mongial and other prominent sailors have made a representation to the Union Sports Ministry, seeking better coaching support for the various sailing classes.
In a letter signed by eight clubs and associations, seven Arjuna, Dronacharya and other awardees, apart from nearly 20 sailors, coaches, etc., the attention of the Ministry has been drawn to the biased approach of national coach Peter Conway towards 29er class, which is not an Olympic event and did not figure in the Asian Games.
The letter sought attention of the ministry towards the national coach’s “lack of appreciation of sailing performance development by taking incompetent coaches and applying them to our best sailors.”
The sailing fraternity questioned the vision of taking one single class and four sailors while India had traditionally won more medals by competing in more classes, especially in the Asian Games.
It was stated that the appointment of the coach who was seeking extension for another term, was against the interests of the Laser, Optimist, Board Sailing, 420, 470, Match Racing, Hobie 16 classes which represent all the 14 events offering medals in sailing in the Asian Games.
It was pointed out that the coach in question had blundered in reading the race notice, which led to a sailor reaching the venue without a boat in the Laser Radial class, and a loss of a certain medal in the last Asian Games in Guangzhou.
It was alleged that the coach had taken funding for a training regatta in Malaysia last year for the 29er event even though it was not part of the programme, and the money subsequently had to be returned to the government.
The preparation for the Asian championship that followed the regatta was also affected as the sailors were without boats.
Lack of support
The lack of support for Rohini Rau, ranked fifth in Asia, for a wild card entry for the London Olympics, and not allowing valid entries for the Asian championships in different classes were held against the national coach.
It was felt that some of the teams had the potential to win the gold, as they had performed well against the teams that had eventually won the gold.
It was highlighted that the views of the Sailing Performance Development Committee (SPDC) to improve the sport was not being followed by the Yachting Association of India (YAI), as it had not recommended the appointment of the coach in question, but had in fact sought his dismissal.
It was argued that the national coach had not kept in touch “with the basic requirements of several fleets trying hard to succeed, often on their own steam and at their own cost.”
The SPDC, with Farokh Tarapore as the coordinator, recommended the identification of the classes to take part in the Asian Games in 2014, and the transition classes to achieve the goal.
It was also suggested that a pool of good foreign coaches should be invited for shorter duration at national camps, and their services be utilised to train the Indian coaches so as to form a big pool of coaches.