IOA's send-off for first batch

IOA's send-off for first batch

We want to become financially independent: IOA president

IOA's send-off for first batch

The Indian Olympics Association (IOA), in the presence of brand ambassadors and celebrities Salman Khan and AR Rahman, wished luck to country’s Rio bound athletes in a send-off function on Monday.

 The chaotic event saw the presence of IOA President N Ramachandran, IOA secretary-general Rajeev Mehta, sports-secretary Rajeev Yadav, IOA treasurer Anil Khanna, SAI DG Injeti Srinivas, chef de Mission Rakesh Gupta and deputy chef de mission Anandeshwar Pandey among others.

 Those present among athletes includes tennis star Sania Mirza, badminton players PV Sindhu, K Srikanth, coach P Gopichand, gymnast Dipa Karmakar, men and women wrestlers, among others. Yogeshwar Dutt, who had objected to the appointment of Salman as a brand ambassador, was absent from the event.

  Meanwhile, Ramachandran on the occasion expressed his desire to make the IOA independent of government funding.

 “It is our aim to become financially independent and not depend on the government. We want to follow on the footsteps of the US Olympic committee. In the US, the association doesn't depend on the government for funding. We want to raise enough funds and give it to the federations for the development of the games. I hope that happens in the next few years,” Ramachandran said .

 Under pressure from the federations to accommodate more coaching and support staff, the IOA clarified that they would be giving priority to medal hopefuls while looking to maintain a balance.

 “Well the limit of coaches and support staff is 50% of the entire contingent. We will try to accommodate as many requests as possible.  But the requirements of the medal prospects  and federations will be given priority," said Gupta.

 Meanwhile, Dipa, India’s first female gymnast to qualify for Olympics in 52 years, said her primary goal would be to improve her scoring to 15.67 points.

 “I want to do well in Rio. My first target will be to reach the final. I am trying to improve my score and if I could do it at least by 0.34 points then it will be great.  My preparations are going fine and I am going to give my best in Rio,“ said the the 22-year-old from Agartala.
Her coach Biseswar Nandi said they have great expectations from Dipa.