Pavel Smirnov appointed Indian pistol team coach

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 09, 2013, 17:21 PM IST

New Delhi: Pavel Smirnov, who played a role in ace marksman Vijay Kumar winning a silver medal in the London Olympics, has been appointed chief coach of the Indian pistol team on a three-year contract.

As per the Sports Authority of India`s (SAI) policy, the Russian will be drawing a monthly salary of USD 7,500.

"He (Smirnov) will be incharge of the team till the 2016 Rio Olympics," a NRAI official said.

After a successful six-year stint at the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, Smirnov`s first assignment with the Indian team will be the upcoming Asian Air Gun Championship starting in Tehran on October 18.

"He has already started training the shooters at the Dr Karni Singh Range for the tournament in Tehran," the official added.

The Indian Army had employed him in 2007 to further its `Olympic Mission` program.

At AMU, which is a specialised unit of infantry, he was entrusted with the task of scouting talented shooters within the army and train them for national and international competitions.

Satisfied with his efforts at AMU, the NRAI had shown keenness to have Smirnov in its ranks.

The NRAI had forwarded Smirnov`s name to SAI after the Russian expressed his interest earlier this year.

Till Smirnov`s appointment, the post of pistol coach had been lying vacant since the departure of Anatoli Poddubny, who took over a few months before the London Games, but whose contract was not renewed by SAI.

One of the best in the world, the soft-spoken coach from Moscow, prior to the quadrennial extravaganza in the British capital last July-August, was like a shadow to the 27-year-old Vijay.

Smirnov was showered with a lot of praise after Vijay became the first Indian pistol shooter to win an Olympic medal.

The Russian`s appointment by Army was part of its Olympic Mission Programme that was launched in 2004.