Tokyo Olympics

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Seven foreigners and one Indian are behind the medals.

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Monday, 9th August 2021

Only athletes who compete in front of the entire globe have a seat on the podium. However, there are always guiding hands and wise counsel available to demonstrate the route to a medal. The trainers who laboured behind the scenes to ensure their wards' success on the highest platform also owe a lot to the seven medals India earned in Tokyo.


Uwe Hohn (Head Coach) & Dr Klaus Bartonietz (Biomechanical Expert)

Country: Germany

Athlete: Neeraj Chopra

Event: Javelin Throw

Medal: Gold


The body of the javelin thrower is shaped like a bow, while the javelin is shaped like an arrow. This is Dr. Bartonietz's philosophy, and it worked for Chopra like a charm. Bartonietz has a wealth of understanding about the event's subtleties and is credited with making Chopra's moves stronger while also being more stretchy. He was a key member of the team that created the javelin-specific workout devices that German throwers swear by.

Chopra was taught by UWE HOHN, the only man to throw the spear over 100 metres, when he won gold medals at the Commonwealth and Asian Games in 2018. In early 2019, he enlisted the help of Bartonietz. Both Germans had previously worked with China's national squad.


Vijay Sharma (Chief National Coach)

Country: India

Athlete: Mirabai Chanu

Discipline: Weightlifting 49kg

Medal: Silver


MIRABAI Chanu began working with Sharma, a former national champion, in 2014, the same year he was named head coach of the men's Commonwealth Games team. Throughout Chanu's highs and lows, he has been a constant. Sharma, along with her mother, talked her out of retirement thoughts after she failed to produce one legal lift in the clean and jerk at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Sharma joined the national camp in 2012 after his home state of Uttar Pradesh, which he coached, won the national championship.


Kamal Malikov

Country: Russia

Athlete: Ravi Dahiya

Event: 57kg freestyle wrestling

Medal: Silver


Malikov was brought in to help Sushil Kumar qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. He was supposed to be a fitness trainer, sparring partner, and observer for India's two-time medalist. When that became impossible, Malikov was hired to assist Dahiya under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) in April 2021. Malikov was able to secure good sparring partners for the Indian wrestler in Vladikavkaz (Russia). Following the 23-year-loss old's in the gold medal match at the Poland Open, the 34-year-old coach and student resolved to improve response times and counter speed. Dahiya is a product of wrestling teacher Satpal Singh and the Chhatrasal Stadium setup in Delhi.


Shako Bentinidis

Country: Georgia

Athlete: Bajrang Punia

Event: 65kg freestyle wrestling

Medal: Bronze

After Bentinidis took over the reigns of the 26-year-old, Bajrang rose to become one of the best wrestlers in the 65kg division. Bentinidis, an energetic coach, has helped Bajrang find sparring partners from the United States and Russia.


Raffaele Bergamasco (High Performance Director)

Country: Italy

Athlete: Lovlina Borgohain

Event: Women’s welterweight boxing

Medal: Bronze

Bergamasco, the son of an Olympian, was a five-time national champion and served as a coach in the Beijing, London, and Rio Olympics. He took over the senior and junior men's teams after directing the Italian women's team from 2001 to 2007, contributing to six Olympic gold. After a disappointing performance in Rio, he was released and moved to India in 2017, where he led India to its best-ever medal haul in the Youth Boxing Championships (five gold, two bronze). He was elevated to high performance director for senior women a month later.

Park Tae-Sang

Country: South Korea

Athlete: PV Sindhu

Event: Women’s singles badminton

Medal: bronze

Sindhu's style was built on strength and dexterity, and she regularly outclassed opponents. But she needed more diversity and complexity to win against the best players in the world on a consistent basis.


The News Talkie Bureau



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