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CBI initiates preliminary enquiry against IOA for sending unqualified doctors to the Rio Olympics

If the initial probe by CBI indicates criminality, a FIR will be lodged against the IOA.

News 20 May 2017, 12:55 IST
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 11:  Saina Nehwal of India  in action in the Women,s Singles match agianst Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei during day three of the BWF Dubai World Superseries 2015 Finals at the Hamdan Sports Complex on on December 11, 2015 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images for Falcon)
Saina Nehwal had no option but to take help from international doctors during the Games

What’s the story?

In a recent development, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has issued a preliminary enquiry into allegations of nepotism and favouritism against IOA officials for the selection of two medical professionals during Rio Olympics last year.

The CBI are investigating the reason as to why radiologists Pawandeep Singh and RS Negi were sent to Rio despite the duo not having the requisite qualifications and experience in sports medicine.

According to TOI, IOA general secretary Rajeev Mehta explained the situation saying, “I am not related to any of them. Anyway, we are cooperating with CBI. We have already provided all the documents to them. There were appointment proceedings and it is the power of IOA President to send someone. There is no specific criterion for sending someone to an event."

In case you did not know...

Pawandeep Singh, who was sent as the Chief Medical officer (CMO), is the son of IOA vice-president Tarlochan Singh while Negi is believed to be a distant cousin of IOA secretary, Rajeev Mehta. Negi was sent as the second team doctor.

The heart of the matter

There were instances during the Olympics when the Indian athletes did not get the requisite treatment from the Indian team doctors. Some athletes also reported that the standard response of Dr Singh to their complaints was a prescription of Combiflam, which is essentially just a painkiller. 

Shuttler Saina Nehwal also revealed that she had to consult the International Olympic Committee doctors after she suffered a knee injury during the Rio Olympic.

What’s next?

The preliminary enquiry (PE) is the first stage of the investigation and if the initial probe by CBI indicates criminality, the agency will lodge a FIR against the IOA. The IOA has also assured to assist CBI in the enquiry.

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Author’s take

There have been several registered incidents over the years related to nepotism and discrimination while recruiting or selecting a professional in sports. It’s high time to get rid of such malpractices and the government must take steps to have a professional and ethical approach.

The medical staff is integral to any team and it’s utterly important for them to be knowledgeable and helpful when in need. Thus, proper investigation and background checks should be performed not only before sending the contingent for the Olympics but also for various other international tournaments.

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