Discus thrower Vikas Gowda trains under John Godina, but recommends father for Dronacharya Award

This is not bizarre. This is a problem of plenty in India. Every athlete, when it comes to recommending his or her coach for the coveted Dronacharya Award, mentions his or her close ones.

India’s ace discus thrower and 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Vikas Gowda, is no exception. It is a well-known fact that Gowda has been receiving training from four-time World champion, John Godina, at the World Throwing Centre in Phoenix, US, for the last five years. But when it came to recognising the services of his coach, he has forwarded his father Shiv Gowda’s name for the Dronacharya Award.

The reason given while forwarding his father’s name was that “he has been coaching him over the years”.

As usual, it has raised quite a few eyebrows within the sports ministry.

This is not the first time that such a thing has happened. Two-time Olympic champion Sushil Kumar recommended names of as many as five coaches including his father-in-law Satpal Singh. Then, there was para-athlete coach, Satyapal, who staked his claim on the credentials of Guangzhou Para-Asian Games gold medallist and Arjuna awardee, Jagsir Singh, to receive the distinguished award.

Gowda (Sr) used the outstanding achievements of his son, Vikas, to apply for the Dronacharya award to the sports ministry.

dna has learnt that ever since Vikas moved to the US and started training in Phoenix, it has been the two-time Olympic champion Godina, who has travelled with him as his coach to major international events including the 2012 London Olympics.

In fact, it was under Godina’s guidance that Vikas’s performance consistently improved at the international stage, be it his bronze medal at the New York Grand Prix 2012 and becoming the first Indian to enter the finals of a throwing event at the London Games, or securing a personal best of 66.28m in Oklahoma in 2012.

Moreover, the ministry has been bearing expenses for Godina’s service through the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) and, more recently, the funds reserved for elite athletes under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).

However, Vikas conveniently forgot Godina’s name when it came to recommending the name for the Dronacharya and forwarded his father’s resume for the coveted honour to the Athletics Federation of India (AFI).

“Yes, we have received the application for Shiv Gowda for Dronacharya Award,” said AFI secretary general CK Valson, adding, “In his application, he has mentioned that it was under his father’s guidance that he achieved success in the international competitions.”