Ministry's delay leaves IOA fuming

Ministry's delay leaves IOA fuming

Ministry's delay leaves IOA fuming

The Sports Ministry's delay in clearing the list of Commonwealth Games contingent has left the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) fuming.

"The way things are going I feel our athletes will only be able to attend the closing ceremony," an IOA official said in jest. "But we are also committed to our athletes and will ensure that they reach Gold Coast at the scheduled time."

The IOA has submitted a list of 222 athletes, 74 support staff and 21 extra officials, but were left peeved when the names of 21 extra officials were deleted by the ministry. These extra officials included the names of the parents of top players like Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu and Ronak Pandit, coach and husband of pistol shooter Heena Sidhu.

It prompted IOA president Narinder Batra to slam the ministry during the send-off function of CWG on Tuesday while claiming the expenses of these extra officials will be borne by the respective National Sports Federations.

Batra was later assured by Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore of a review of the government policy of not sending extra officials. However, until Saturday evening the IOA had heard nothing from the government about the final list of the contingent for Commonwealth Games.

Top sources in IOA also revealed they were under tremendous pressure from the ministry officials to fetch them the accreditation cards for the Commonwealth Games. However, IOA this time is adamant to set a precedent.

The differences between IOA and Sports Ministry have become rather apparent of late. Batra has been vocal in his distaste for bureaucrats who he believes are coming in the way of smooth functioning of NSFs.

Meanwhile, Hockey India will be sending the largest contingent of 50 players and officials. While the women's team will be leaving for the Games on March 26, the men's team will leave the next day.

The IOA source also added that the Chef-de-Mission Vikram Sisodia had assumed charge at the Games Village.