New Delhi: The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has brought Bajrang Punia’s coach Shako Bentinidis under its wings by offering him a contract till the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and also appointed Russian Murad Gaidarov to help out Deepak Punia and Ravi Dahiya.
Shako Bentinidis was attached with the JSW and the WFI was always interested in having the services of the Georgian. He had refused the offer earlier but was left with no option but to bow down to the WFI since it was not happy with him and was contemplating getting Bajrang Punia a new coach.
There were complaints that Bentinidis criticised WFI for its working style and the federation took exception to that.
Wilfredo Garcia was tried for a few days but Bajrang, who won his third World Championships medal at Nur Sultan, was not convinced on hiring the Cuban.
“The Georgian was under pressure since WFI was putting pressure on Bajrang to change the coach. Bajrang told WFI that Bentinidis was best suited for him to which the federation agreed but put a condition that the Georgian has to come under them,” said a source.
WFI Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar, who had earlier denied that WFI was looking for a new coach for Bajrang, said Bentinidis has been appointed on request of Bajrang.
“We just want our wrestlers to win medal at Tokyo Games. Bajrang wanted to train with Shako (Bentinidis) only, so we hired him,” Tomar said.
It has been learnt that WFI will pay USD 5,000 per month to Bentinidis and Gaidarov, the 2008 Beijing Olympics silver medalist.
Deepak Punia (86kg) and Dahiya (57kg) had won a silver and bronze respectively at Nur Sultan and are believed to be medal prospects for Tokyo Games.