Union Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel on 6 April 2017 approved the appointment of two foreign coaches and two support staff in the discipline of athletics. The appointed people include Dave Smith, Galina P. Bukharina, Dmitry Kislev and Elmira Kisleva.
The appointments of foreign coaches and support staff have been made up to 2020 Olympics and they will be subject to performance review annually. The approved appointments were recommended by the Foreign Coach Selection committee which was chaired by Secretary, Sports. Approved appointments and associated events. After approving these appointments, Goel said that his ministry is committed to provide best possible help and support, sports infrastructure and equipments to athletes.
Dave Smith, 61, is a former top race walker who competed in 1980 and 1984 Olympics. He will work alongside Alexander Artsybashev of Russia who has been associated with the national team as the foreign coach since 2011. As per reports, Smith is expected to reach India in few days and after arrival he will take charge of the national camp at NIS Patiala.
Smith’s appointment was largely influenced by the impressive number of top-class Indian race walkers in 20km and 50km events. Earlier, some seven 20km race walkers of India were able to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics but only three took part in the events as that was the maximum number a country can send.
Bukharina who represented the erstwhile USSR in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, claiming a bronze medal in the 400 meter relay race will be coaching the national teams in 400m and 400m relay. She was a former head coach of Texas State track and field. Bukharina will succeed Ukrainian coach Yuri Ogorodnik whose contract as the coach of 400m national camp was not renewed by the Sports Ministry. He coached the Indian national team till the Rio Olympics.
She coached the former Soviet Union’s sprint and hurdle athletes for over 14 years. During her stint as a coach, she coached the world record-breaking women’s 1600 meter relay team that captured the gold medal at the 1988 Olympics. Post 1988 Olympics, She coached four Olympic individual gold medallists, two Olympic gold medal relay teams and seven European and World Championships gold medal performers. She is also credited for developing four of the most internationally successful athletes from the former Soviet Union.