New Delhi:The All India Tennis Association on Saturday made it clear that the panel of coaches selected for the Commonwealth Games Project was a stop-gap arrangement and urged the Sports Ministry to sanction more money to hire higher level coaches.
The steering committee of the Sports Ministry in consultation with the AITA had cleared names of seven coaches with Dough MacCurdy as foreign coach and former Davis Cupper Vishal Uppal as national coach to train 40 selected players.
This raised eyebrows as questions were raised over the credentials of selected coaches including Arun Kumar, Kawaljit Singh, Nar Singh, Sukhbir Singh and Shalini Thakur for the higher level training.
Anil Khanna, AITA President, said the Ministry was told clearly that the kind of money they were offering was not good enough to get desired coaches.
"You can not equate tennis with other games. A good foreign coach will not come for $5,000. And this was there in the presentation we made to the Ministry in the meeting that at least $10,000 (per month) has to be paid to hire high level coaches. This is in writing," Khanna said.
"So we told them that this is a stop-gap arrangement and these coaches will be replaced with other coaches once we know how much money we will get from the Ministry. We can not talk seriously to a foreign coach for the assignment unless we know how much money can pay him.
"And if we have to get coaches like Nandan Bal, we have to give them two-and-a-half lakh rupees per month, which they are making," Khanna said.
Khanna asserted that Ministry took note of the request and promised to look into that.
"Ministry is considering our request. We are meeting on October 1 and I am sure Minstry will help us."
Khanna though laughed off a media report that Sports Minister M S Gill was not happy with the AITA selection process and had ordered a re-look into the process.
"Ministry is not behind me, it's me who is after the ministry as I have to get things done. I am meeting with them regularly and discussing all the matters," he said.
AITA also said that the current panel of coach would continue to be in scheme of things as some would move to administrative work and some would continue at DLTA.
Meanwhile, Jaideep Muklherjea, Chairman of the CWG project, reiterated that the selection was guided by the guidelines of the Sports Ministry, which stipulated a limited fund for the salary for the coaches.
"As per the guidelines of the Sports Ministry the national (Indian) coaches were to be given Rs 30,000 per month and USD 5,000 for the foreign coach. And reputed coaches Nandan Bal or Enrico Piperno may not go for that," Mukherjea told PTI.
"We have dedicated coaches in Kawaljit Singh and Arun Kumar and we have already started sessions (training) with them. I am very happy with them."
Mukherjea also dismissed allegations that coaches from Delhi were being promoted as five of the six coaches hail from the national capital.
"The kind of salary we have been asked to give to coaches for the project in Delhi, no coach from other city would like to come," he said.
Meanwhile, selected coaches -- Nar Singh and Arun Kumar -- took exception to the media report, which claimed that selection was biased and aimed at promoting one family.
"What is the harm, if one family is capable of producing results. I have been travelling with the junior Indian teams since 1987. I have worked with players like Rohit Rajpal, who went on to play Davis Cup for India," Nar Singh said.
"I am a qualified level II ITF coach and travelled with the junior Indian team to Australia for the World Championship in 2004. Moreover the selected bunch has players of different level and you need different coaches to work with them," he added.
Arun Kumar, who is also level II ITF coach, refused to add fuel to the fire and said he would mind his business only.
"I was told by AITA that I have to do this and I said okay. I don't have to say anything else," Arun, who travelled with the junior Indian Davis Cup team as captain in 2006-07, said.