Russian Olympic bronze medallist Galina Bukharina has been hired to coach the Indian 400m and relay teams.
The 72-year-old athlete, who later shifted to the US, last coached the USSR women’s 4x400m relay team which broke the World record to win gold at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.
Bukharina herself participated in the 1968 Mexico Olympics with the Soviet Union team and won bronze in the women’s 4x100m.
At the US, Bukharina had a successful stint with Texas State University, where she was the top coach for nearly 20 years till 2011.
Prior to Bukharina, the Indian women’s relay team coach was the controversial Ukrainian Yuri Ogorodnik who was at the centre of the 2011 doping scandal. He returned for the recently held Rio Olympics, but left soon after.
Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel supported the decision to appoint Bukharina and Australian race walking coach Dave Smith on Thursday. The two former sportspersons will be with the Indian teams till the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Goel also approved the appointment of two Russian masseurs, Dmitry Kislev and Elmira Kisleva.
There was a rumour that Russian coach Alexander Artsybashev has had a clash with the Athletics Federation of India. He was the one who had coached the Indian race walkers to medals at the Asian Games and Asian meets.
However, Adille Sumariwalla, the president of AFI, has denied the rumour. He told The Hindu, “The Russian coach is still there and he is not going anywhere till 2020. But we are getting a second coach because one coach cannot take care of everyone.”
Sumariwalla added, “With the number of walkers we have, and with some producing world-level performances, we cannot do with one coach.”
Picture credit- Sportskeeda