Former world record holder and national javelin coach Uwe Hohn is on his way out as his contract, which ran till the end of Tokyo Olympics, is unlikely to be extended further. The 59-year-old German was appointed as chief coach in November 2017 for one year to train the likes of Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopa, other Tokyo Olympians Shivpal Singh and Annu Rani.
“He (Hohn) is on way out. His contract is unlikely to be extended by SAI (Sports Authority of India),” a source privy to the development told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
It is learnt that Hohn, whose 104.80m throw in 1984 led to change in javelin design in 1986 and restarting of world records, had demanded 50 per cent hike in his salary, which is to be tax-free, besides first class air tickets. His original contract was worth Rs 1.09 crore a year, plus boarding, lodging, medical facilities and leave travel. He wanted to increase it to Rs 1.64 crore a year when the contract was up for renewal in October 2020.
“SAI in 2020 had informed him that his demands were unreasonable and unacceptable since the result of the throwers he was training did not warrant an increase of Rs 55 lakh,” sources in the SAI said.
SAI had also pointed out that it had appointed another foreign javelin throw coach, bio-mechanics expert Dr Klaus Bartonietz at considerable expense on the recommendation of Athletics Federation of India. Hohn was with Chopra for around a year from the time of his appointment till the 2018 Asian Games.
The AFI has made it clear that it was the choice of Chopra to leave Hohn and train with Klaus. Chopra himself said that though he respects Hohn, the German’s training methods and technical approach was not to his liking.
“I respect Hohn sir, I won gold in 2018 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games under him. But his technical approach and style of training was different. I told him that I want to work with Klaus sir,” Chopra said on Tuesday at the felicitation function organised by the AFI on his historic Olympic gold-winning feat.
“His (Klaus’) training plans were good and suited me. He plans training according to the body of the athlete, he has also worked with a lot of athletes in different countries.”
Sources said Hohn had decided to renew the contract in October 2020 at existing terms and was training Shivpal, who failed to qualify for the finals with a below-par best throw of 76.40m. Rani, who also flopped in the Tokyo Olympics, refused to train with Hohn.
Hohn’s outburst regarding the lack of facilities at the national camp a month prior to the Olympics also didn’t go down well with both AFI and SAI.