Former Indian Olympians asked to step down as National Observers
What’s the story?
In a recent development, it has been revealed that the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport (MYAS) has asked five former Indian Olympians to submit their resignations as a National Observer from their respective sports. The decision comes after the ministry cited issues of conflict of interest.
In case you did not know
In March last year, the MYAS delineated the names of 12 Olympians who would be serving as National Observers with the sole aim to contribute to the betterment of sports in the country, targeting the 2020 Olympics.
However, the guidelines for the appointment were repeatedly revised. And the circulars issued clearly specified that a National Observer, if associated with any outside academy, would not be dis-entitled from the post in question, since the person is not directly involved in the selection of a National Team.
The heart of the matter
Despite clear guidelines, it is shocking why the Government did not see the importance of a “conflict-like” situation when it came to appointing the National Observers for their various disciplines in the first place.
In a letter which has since been forwarded to the Director General, Deputy Director General and the Executive Director of the Sports Authority of India, five out of the remaining Olympians still serving in the post of National Observer for their respective sports have been asked to step down.
The five names are PT Usha (Athletics), Anju Bobby George (Athletics), Abhinav Bindra (Shooting), Karnam Malleshwari (Weightlifting) and Kamlesh Mehta (Table Tennis).
Interestingly enough, Bindra, Usha and Mehta had already stepped down from in the December-January period.
Needless to say, the latest circular has sparked off a controversy. Presently, out of the 12 original Olympians assigned for the posts of National Observers, it so happens that a major chunk of the names has either resigned or been asked to step down.
With a little over two years left for the Tokyo Olympics, the question as to their replacement still looms large and is sincerely hoped that this mess is rectified.