Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Thursday criticised the Sports Ministry for axing 21 officials from the Indian contingent for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, starting at the Gold Coast April 4.
According to the list, the ministry has omitted the names of the Chief Medical Officer and an assistant physiotherapist of the IOA besides other officials of the National Sports Federations (NSFs).
“I haven’t received the official list from the ministry as yet, but from what I have come to know from the media that 21 names have been deleted. This also includes the Chief Medical Officer and an assistant physiotherapist of the contingent,” IOA president President Narinder Batra told mediapersons on the sidelines of the send-off ceremony of the contingent.
“I am not here for any blame game with the Sports Ministry. The final list is cleared by the ministry, the (IOA) is like a postman, as the NSF’s send us the list which we forward to the ministry for approval. The NSF’s are autonomous bodies. We have no hand in trimming the list. It is the ministry who has the authority,” he said.
He insisted that the physio or the medical officer are mandatory requirements of any contingent and added that it is the ministry who should shoulder the responsibility if an athlete underperforms in such a scenario.
“I don’t see any reason for dropping a physio, masseur from the team, they are mandatory requirements. Tomorrow if an athlete’s performance is hampered, then don’t blame the federations or the athlete. Instead, the ministry should take responsibility for its actions,” Batra said.
The IOA chief is having a running battle with the ministry since assuming office. “There is no enmity or war with the ministry, we understand the demands and needs of the federations and the athletes but somewhere there is lack of understanding in certain bureaucrats of the ministry,” he said.
“Take the case of boxer Sarita Devi during the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. There was no one to protest on behalf of her as the coach had to prepare for the next boxer’s bout.
“There are no extra officials. They are not going for a vacation misusing public money. There is a 33 percent quota and beyond that if there is a requirement, such officials can travel and the expenses will be borne by the respective NSFs. I don’t have any power to delete their names from the list,” he claimed.