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Athletics

Neeraj Chopra's former coach Uwe Hohn to be sacked

With his contract running out, Hohn's row with sporting bodies may result in his sacking

2020 Tokyo Olympics Javelin Throw Neeraj Chopra
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Uwe Hohns with star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra (Source: India Today)

By

Rajdeep Saha

Updated: 2021-09-15T15:02:55+05:30

The Haryana boy clinched India's first-ever Olympic gold in Athletics at the Tokyo games and he had his German coaches to thank for that. One of them, Uwe Hohn, was an athlete himself and the only one to have thrown the javelin over 100 metres. While he was instrumental in guiding Chopra to his success, his relationship with the Indian authorities has been a rocky one for quite some time.

After being in the job for only a couple of months, the German had already started to become impatient with authorities like the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) and the Sports Authority of India (SAI). The reason for this impatience was the incompetence shown by the sporting bodies to provide the necessary facilities to prepare the athletes. Be it the latest equipment, or the right nutritional diet, nothing was being done in time. The coach blamed this lackadaisical attitude either on ignorance or the absence of much information regarding the sport.

Apart from his criticism aimed at the officials, Hohn had clearly stated his personal demands as well. He wanted a 50 per cent hike on his current salary which would have seen his remuneration amount increase to Rs. 1.64 crore per year. But the authorities deemed these demands as unreasonable and went on to hire another coach, Dr Klaus Bartonietz, who specialises in biomechanics.

Another factor that certainly contributes to Hohn getting sacked is non-performance, as stated by officials representing the AFI. In his initial years, Hohn overlooked the training of Neeraj Chopra, who had gone on to win gold at both the 2018 Asian and Commonwealth games. Prior to Olympics, the star athlete wished to train under Bartonietz, the biomechanics expert, as he didn't find Hohn's techniques conducive to his style. Since then, Uwe Hohn was given the responsibility of training athletes Shivpal Singh and Annu Rani. Unfortunately, both of them failed to go past the preliminary rounds in their respective groups at the Tokyo games. This certainly was a good enough reason for the authorities to question Hohn's abilities as a coach.

Both his seething comments in the past and instances of non-performance are grounds for the ruling bodies to not renew his contract, which ultimately will result in Hohn's sacking.

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