File image of Kiren Rijiju

The sports ministry on Thursday announced that foreign and Indian coaches will be hired on a contractual basis of four years in sync with the Olympic Games.

This would be done to ensure that Olympic-bound athletes are able to train consistently with one coach and therefore work on improving their performance

The four-year contract of coaches will be given on the basis of the performance of a coach and recommendation from the respective National Sports Federations.

The contracts will be reviewed annually and extended on the basis of a coach’s overall performance, indicated by the performance of athletes in major international events.

“Coaches are the backbone of the sporting ecosystem of any country and ensuring the right coaching for our elite athletes is a vital step towards improving India’s chances in all major international tournaments, including the Olympics,” Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said in a statement.

“This decision is part of India’s long-term roadmap for Olympic preparation for 2024 and 2028. I am confident our athletes will benefit from this,” he added.

Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra welcomed the decision and said it will help athletes in a big way, especially during a time when they have had to go on a forced break of due to the coronavirus-forced lockdown.

“At a recent meeting with the Sports Minister, representatives of various NSFs had raised this issue and requested for longer contract periods for foreign coaches,” said Batra.

“Frequent changing of coaches means that an athlete has to adjust to the temperament of the new coach and vice-versa. This often hampers the level of performance,” he added.

He also said that this decision is also sure to have a positive impact on the Asian Games in 2022 and the World Championships in 2023 leading up to the Olympics in 2024.

Meanwhile, in view of the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to next year, the contract of all foreign coaches will be extended till September 30, 2021.

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