Commonwealth Games 2018: IOA slams sports ministry in war over 'extras'

President Narinder Batra on Thursday trained his guns at the sports ministry for trimming as many as 21 officials from the Indian contingent for the upcoming Commonwealth Games starting at the Gold Coast April 4.

"I've had so much support from my family, so much support from my coaches that I couldn't name one person because they've all come together as a team and brought me to where I am now". He emphasised the need for extra coaching, mentoring and support staff which could make a difference in athletes' performances.

The reason behind that is the part of athletes payment is actually being given by the Government of India. We called these extra officials but in fact these are not extra officials.

"I am not here for any blame game with the sports ministry".

Batra said he learned the ministry had removed the names of Chief Medical Officer and an assistant physiotherapist. For the present CWG, we have 222 Athletes participating, hence the permitted officials with the contingent will be 74. Officials who won't be able to stay in the Games village or enter the sporting arena. "If a Virat Kohli or a Sachin Tendulkar had wanted to do the same as Sindhu and Saina are requesting now, will they (ministry) say no to them also?" asked Batra at the sidelines of the sending-off ceremony of the India's CWG contingent.

It includes names of top athletes like Olympic medalist wrestler Sushil Kumar, women wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Babita Kumari and Pooja Dhanda, badminton singles specialist Ruthika Shivani Gadde, shot-putter Tajinder Pal Singh Toor, men's hockey player Lalit Upadhyay and women's hockey team player Savita, among others.

The bone of contention is the 21 extra officials included in the list sent by the IOA. He said the ministry should learn from the L Sarita Devi incident during the 2014 Asian Games where the boxer did not have any manager to fall back on after getting a raw deal in her semifinal loss.

Thompson's training group also boasts Olympic and world championship medallists, defending Commonwealth champions, Olympic finalists and athletes with performances in the top three in the world past year. "It is very unfortunate that the government does not grasp the importance of these officials", said Batra, adding that nobody was on a pleasure trip. "Instead the ministry should take responsibility for its actions", Batra said.

The contingent is still to be finalized by the sports minister Rajyavardhan Rathore who was in Bengaluru on Wednesday.


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