New Delhi: With just four months left for the crucial Olympic qualifiers in April, India`s newly-appointed foreign table tennis coach Leszek Kucharski knows he has a tough task at hand but does not want to overburden himself by setting targets at this stage.
"It`s difficult to say anything at this stage with just four months left for the qualifiers. May be a year would not have proved enough to prepare the team but these three months could do the needful. All I can say is that I`ll try my best.”
"...of course it`s a difficult task at hand. It`s difficult but at the same time nice job. One needs to understand that lot of factors are involved leading up to the qualifiers to get the good results," Kucharski said at SAI`s Patiala complex.
Kucharski, who arrived in India this week after being appointed by the Table Tennis Federation of India for the job on a one-year contract, said he would interact with the Indian paddlers before setting any goal leading up to the qualifiers to be held in Hong Kong from April 19 to 22.
"I will the meeting the players in the first week of December. I must see all the players and spend time with them to understand them and their technique better. I don`t know most of the players, I only know few of them. I know Sharath Kamal, he is a very good player. I know Soumyajit Ghosh through ITTF programme when I was coaching the junior players," said the 53-year-old Pole.
Kucharski took over the reins of the team at a salary of USD 6,000 per month including free accommodation and internal travel expenses. He had reached No 11 in rankings as a player and has had a successful career as coach in his country.
He finished his international career in the beginning of 1990s and served the Polish Table Tennis Federation (PTTA) in various capacities from 1994 to 2009, including as head coach of the men`s and women`s national teams.
The Indian paddlers were without any foreign coach ever since Italian Massimo Constantini`s contract expired after the Guangzhou Asian Games last year. Till now, chief national coach Bhawani Mukherjee and coach Kamlesh Mehta were looking after the team.
Indian paddlers will be participating in three crucial events in the coming months -- Asian Championships in February in China, World Team Table Tennis championships in March in Germany and then the Olympic qualifiers -- but Kucharski said his first priority will remain Olympic qualification.
"My first priority remains the London Olympic qualifiers. It`s something that has been playing on my mind."
Kucharski said he is happy to be associated with the Indian table Tennis Federation and is enjoying his stay in the country.
"I am happy with my contract and the support I got from the Sports Ministry and the Sports Authority of India. I feel quite comfortable here. It`s a nice country, but I work a lot too. It feels good to be here in India," he signed off.