IOA to take up travel restriction issue with Union Govt

Batra said the Union Sports Ministry's restrictions on the number of officials travelling with the athletes for the Commonwealth Games will be taken up with the government, as every official had a key role to play.

Narinder Batra said the restrictions may have a negative impact on the athletes.   -  AFP

The president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Narinder Batra, expressed concern about the Union Sports Ministry's restrictions on the number of officials travelling with the athletes for the Commonwealth Games, to be staged in Gold Coast from April 5.

Apart from the percentage of officials allowed to accompany the team, which is one third of the number of athletes, the IOA president said that the around 20 extra officials were being sent at the cost of the federations.

Making it clear that he was only going by the information being brought to his notice and the fact that there was no official response from the Sports Ministry as yet, Batra said the case would be taken up with the government, as every official had a key role to play.

‘’We had put the name of a physician and an orthopaedic. They are cutting down the physician’s name. 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.

Batra also recalled the instance of boxer Sarita Devi having a tough time lodging a protest at the Incheon Asian Games.

"The manager was not allowed to go then and the chief coach had to intervene. And $100 had to be borrowed from a journalist to pay the protest fee’’, said Batra, highlighting that the procedures demanded the right officials with the teams.

‘’Why are so many officials from the Ministry and Sports Authority of India (SAI) travelling for the Games. They are the ones who are using the public money,’’ Batra remarked.

The IOA secretary general, Rajeev Mehta, clarified that a list of 222 athletes and 74  officials, apart from the 20-odd extra officials, "which is a requirement, and not at government cost’’, has been sent for clearance to the government.

"It is the government’s prerogative to clear. If they don’t clear, we should not be blamed for lesser number of medals,’’ Batra warned.

The IOA also stressed that the relevant protocol would be followed regarding the case of table tennis player Soumyajit Ghosh, who is facing rape charge in Kolkata.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.