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The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is likely to sack men’s free style national coach Hossein Karimi, six months after the Iranian was hired on a contract till the Tokyo Olympics.
The Iranian had joined the national camp in February but has been struggling to adjust to the ‘system’.
He went on leave after India savoured its best ever performance at the World Championship in Nur-Sultan, where the men’s freestyle wrestlers won four medals and three Olympic quotas.
“Karimi’s days are numbered. He will soon be gone. The WFI is not happy with him,” said an WFI source.
It has been learnt that the diminutive Karimi himself is not happy with the way things work in India.
Sources said he wanted to have his own program in place at the national camp in Bahalgarh in Sonepat district but country’s elite wrestlers trained on their own.
Bajrang Punia has been training with Georgian Shako Bentinidis while Sushil Kumar trains with Russian Kamal Malikov.
Deepak Punia and Ravi Dahiya, who won a silver and a bronze respectively in Nur Sultan, are product of Delhi’s Chhatarsal stadium.
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“He was struggling to gel with the other Indian coaches at the camp and remained aloof most of the time. He was unhappy since arriving and has been complaining of one or the other thing. The WFI was told about it and it (sacking) was coming,” said a source.
“He was even given a flat near the camp since he did not want to stay inside the SAI Complex where other coaches lived.”
However, the WFI said it as not yet decided on sacking Karimi, who as Iran’s national coach, had led his nation to three men’s freestyle medals, including a gold, at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“He is on leave. Let him come back. We have not yet decided, if he will continue as men’s freestyle coach or not,” said WFI Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar.
It has also been learnt that Karimi had refused to share room with one of the fellow support staff members in Nur Sultan.
“Since he did not mix up with others, he insisted that he would stay alone. One separate room was given to him while three support staff members shared one room. One of them had to sleep on the couch all these days,” the source claimed.
“He did not think high of India’s coaches. He provided only verbal tips to wrestlers at the camp, preferring to stay away from heavily sweating grapplers,” added another source, who was in the Kazakh capital.
In complete contrast, American Andrew Cooks seems to be enjoying his stint with the women’s team in Lucknow.
For him, India is his ‘new family’ and can be seen even defending the freestyle wrestlers, who attracted a bit of criticism during the World Championship.
The Greco-Roman coach Temo Kazarashvili has also developed a bond with his boys, who respect the Russian.