India's national javelin coach Uwe Hohn has been "sent home" by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) over alleged lack of performance. The sacking comes after Hohn claimed to have been "blackmailed" into signing his new contract by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Athletics Federation of India (AFI) in the beginning of April. Hohn had been appointed as chief coach in 2017 to train then emerging javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who returned with India's first gold medal in athletics from the recently-held Tokyo Olympics. Hohn also coached Tokyo Olympians Shivpal Singh and Annu Rani. In June, Hohn had criticised the Sports Authority of India and AFI's Olympic preparations, saying it was “difficult to work with these people” due to their "lack of knowledge or ignorance."
" Beside camps or competitions, even when we ask via our nutritionist for supplements for our athletes, we don’t get the right stuff. Not even for TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) athletes – medal contenders handpicked by the Sports Ministry. If we get something, we are very happy,” he was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
The 59-year-old Hohn from Germany holds the record for the longest javelin throw of 104.80 m. AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said the decision to replace Hohn was taken after a performance review of athletes and coaches at the two-day executive council meeting. Hohn's performance was "not good" and the AFI was bringing in two new coaches, Sumariwalla said at a press conference on Monday.
The AFI will retain Klaus Bartonietz, the biomechanical expert who coached Chopra when he won the Olympic gold, and is looking for a foreign coach for shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor, Sumariwalla added.
AFI planning commission chief Lalit K Bhanot claimed several javelin throwers, including Chopra, Singh and Rani, didn’t want to train with Hohn. He also blamed Hohn for Singh and Rani's "below-par performance."
Chopra was trained by Hohn during the Commonwealth and Asian Games in 2018 before Bartonietz took up the role.
Ahead of the Tokyo Games, Chopra credited Hohn for coaching him to two major gold medals in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. Chopra had said Hohn’s "training style and technique were a bit different. Later, when I trained with Klaus, I felt his training plan suited me.”