Uwe Hohn was sacked because he did not deliver the results: AFI President Adille Sumariwalla
The President of the AFI, Mr Adille Sumariwalla explained at length to The Bridge the reason behind the ouster of javelin coach Uwe Hohn.
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) ended their association with National Chief Javelin Coach Uwe Hohn looking at the overall performances of Indian athletics in the Tokyo Olympics. Uwe Hohn trained Shivpal Singh and Annu Rani, both of whom failed to make it to the final of men's and women's final respectively in Tokyo.
The President of the AFI, Mr Adille Sumariwalla explained at length to The Bridge the reason behind the ouster of coach Uwe Hohn, who is also the only athlete in history to cross the 100m mark with a javelin in history.
"Very simple, Hohn has not delivered as a coach. The athletes have done very badly at the Olympic Games. The target he said he will achieve at the Olympic Games was not achieved," said the AFI President.
A lot of people expected the German to get an extension with Neeraj Chopra winning India's first-ever Olympic gold in athletics at Tokyo. It was under Hohn's guidance that Chopra won Commonwealth Games 2018 gold in Gold Coast and Asian Games 2018 gold in Jakarta.
After winning gold in both the prestigious quadrennial events Neeraj Chopra parted ways with the German legend and started training under fellow German and biomechanics expert, Klaus Bartonietz. This is the exact reason why AFI did not renew his contract.
"Uwe Hohn is not Neeraj Chopra's coach for the last two years. Chopra has been training under Klaus for long," explained Sumariwalla.
The sacking of the Uwe Hohn was a mutual decision taken by the AFI and the Sports Authority of India (SAI). According to Sumariwalla, the athletes who worked with Hohn were not consulted before the axe.
"I don't need to speak to the athletes. There was feedback from the High-Performance Director and SAI. It is not one thing that we do. It is a continuous monitoring process. The decisions we take are professional, well thought out and for the betterment of India and Indian athletics. He has got nothing to do with the gold medal. He was training Shivpal Singh and Annu Rani. He has not been Neeraj's coach for the last two years. Even when Neeraj went abroad before the Olympics he went with Dr Klaus. Uwe Hohn was here with these two athletes. Uwe Hohn is the coach of Shivpal and Annu," Sumariwalla asserted.
Uwe Hohn, who was hired in 2017 had criticized both AFI and SAI for their functioning just before the Olympics. While a certain faction of fans and experts believed his comments perhaps cost him his contract, Adille Sumariwalla rubbished those claims.
"Journalists have to make stories and I know what journalism is all about and what they are pressured to do. I know how the system works. People can think what they want. This decision was pure and simply performance-based. None of the athletes wanted to train with him. It is as simple as that."
Following the removal of Uwe Hohn, the AFI's Planning Commission comprising of Lalit Bhanot and former long jumper Anju Bobby George, are on the lookout for two new javelin coaches who will help the Indian throwers prepare for the future.