Irked by his refusal to attend online sessions, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has terminated the services of women’s coach Andrew Cook with immediate effect. Also Read - Hockey: India Women's Team Captain Rani Rampal Reveals Her Only Craving During Coronavirus Lockdown
As per WFI, Cook was asked by Sports Authority of India (SAI) officials to attend sessions such as E-Pathshala. However, he refused saying unless his dues are cleared, he won’t be in attendance. Also Read - Indian Athletes Asked to Sign Consent Form to Resume Training at Their Own Risk
After all sports events and activities were suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Cook had left for Seattle. WFI hasn’t taken his ‘behaviour’ lightly and after having discussed with the wrestlers about his importance to the coaching staff, has decided to fire him. Also Read - 11 Disciplines Permitted to Resume Outdoor Training as SAI Releases SOP Without Specifying When
“This behaviour is not acceptable. It shows that Cook works only for salary and is not passionate about Indian wrestling. The SAI officials showed us the screenshots of his refusal messages,” WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar told PTI.
“After that we told Cook to attend sessions and assured him that his salary will be cleared. He did participate in a few sessions but we did not like his behaviour. We discussed it among ourselves and also asked our wrestlers if they really need him. The wrestlers told us that he is not indispensable, so we have decided to terminate his services with immediate effect. We will send him the letter,” he added.
Cook was hired by SAI on the recommendation of WFI in September 2018 and he joined the camp in early 2019.
The American has however been paid his pending salary including for March April and May two days back.
On the other hand, Cook has said he was continuously in touch with SAI coaches and wrestlers.
“I have been running sessions since the beginning of May for the National Centre of Excellence (NCOE) everyday at 6pm (6:30 am in America). I wonder what they are talking about,” Cook told PTI. “Since the beginning of May, I have run sessions five days a week, so l have run about 30 sessions.”
Other SAI coaches who took part in those sessions, have confirmed Cook’s claim.
“He did participate. He regularly guided cadet and junior coaches and sometimes seniors such as Sarita Mor and Pinki also attended his sessions. Honestly, he is a good coach and if WFI or SAI does not want him for seniors he can be kept for juniors. His inputs are good,” the news agency quoted an unnamed SAI coach as saying.
Cook felt that neither the SAI nor the WFI like the fact they he spoke to media about his salary issues and has thus paid the price.
The WFI had also sacked men’s freestyle coach Hossein Karimi in October 2019, just six months into his tenure, claiming that the Iranian brought with himself a VIP culture which cannot be followed in India.
India is now left with only one foreign coach, Georgia’s Temo Gabishvili, who is attached with the Greco Roman wrestlers.
“We have no issues with Temo. He never created any trouble over his salary. He will continue to work with us,” said Tomar.
The WFI also informed that SAI has extended the contracts of about 15 Indian coaches, including men’s free style coach Jagmender Singh, till July 31, 2021.
With PTI inputs