Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Malhotra concerned about athletes' performance

The performance of Indian athletes could be a cause for major embarrassment, as they do not figure in the priority list, even as the city gears up at a feverish pitch for hosting the Commonwealth Games in October.
The President of the Archery Association of India (AAI), Prof. Vijay Kumar Malhotra, said that after having raised the expectations of the people, it would be a huge disappointment if India did not top the medal tally or at least finish second.
Traditionally Australia and England finish top two, and India had finished fourth in Manchester in 2002 with 30 gold medals and in the same position in Melbourne in 2006 with 22 golds.
“We finished a creditable fourth in both these Games without spending so much money and if now we do not improve our tally at home, then the people will raise questions regarding the very purpose of hosting the Games,'' he said.

Tough task

He was quick to add that it would be a tough task for the Indian athletes, as they do not get home advantage, because stadiums are not available to them for security or other reasons.
Prof. Malhotra was upset that the expenditure on six main stadiums had gone up from Rs. 1,000 crore Rs. 2,460 crore, and there was fear that it may further escalate as work was still incomplete.

Reduced awards

Pointing out the government's reluctance to reward medal-winners, he said it was unfair to have reduced the cash awards for the medal-winners by more than 50 per cent from what was given for the performance in the Manchester Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games in Busan.
The medal-winners in Commonwealth and Asian Games now get Rs. 10 lakh for gold, Rs. 5 lakh for silver and Rs. 3 lakh for bronze. They got Rs. 20 lakh, Rs. 15 lakh and Rs.10 lakh for the same medals in 2002.
“If the government can spend billions on infrastructure, then why is it hesitating to give a few crore rupees to sportspersons who are going to be the star performers,'' he said, at his residence here on Tuesday.
He lamented the wastage of thousands of crores of rupees in the name of beautification of the city, which has completely been dug up, what with the monsoon ready to cause further havoc.
Prof. Malhotra said it was a shame the stadiums were not available for the athletes to prepare, and said the legacy was a big question mark, as the government had already advertised handing over the facilities to corporate houses.
“The stadiums will not be available for our sportspersons, before or after the Games,'' he bemoaned.

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