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'Defective' medals at Lusofonia Games bring shame to organizers and India

Modified 05 Apr 2014, 18:07 IST


India’s reputation of being a capable sporting organizers has come under the scanner because of defective medals provided to the winners at the recently concluded Lusfonia Games in Goa in January this year. The Lusofonia Games Organizing Committee (LUGOC) has returned 97 defective medals from its stock to Kolkata Mint, the manufacturers of the medals.

A total of 17 gold, 27 silver and 53 bronze medals were found to be losing their shine, due to which they have been returned to the manufacturing company. What’s worse, however, is that several of the winning sportspersons have also come to the LUGOC office at Bambolim to demand replacements for their defective medals.

Shankar Dhamday (gold), Kajal Vernekar, Anik Naik (both silver), Desiree Pereira (bronze) and Hemanshu Velingkar (bronze) have all returned their medals. In addition, three bronze and one silver medal have been returned by the Taekwondo Association of Goa, and other associations including the Wushu Association of India have started requesting their athletes to return defective medals.

“This is really unfortunate. These are the same guys who manufacture medals for the Bharat Ratna and Padma Shri. These are the best people to make medals and if we cannot trust them, we cannot trust anyone,” said Mathew Samuel, secretary (sports) and CEO, Lusofonia Games.

“We have been thoroughly embarrassed and our government’s name has been badly tarnished because of the medals,” one senior LUGOC official said.

The worst is not over yet though; if international athletes start returning defective medals given to them, it would be a matter of great shame for the state and the country.

According to TOI, LUGOC has told Kolkata Mint that they will be sending back any more defective medals back that are returned by various federations/countries whose athletes have received these defective medals. They have also asked Kolkata Mint to provide the organizers with a minimum of 50 medals that can be given back to winners as replacements.

“The defective medals that have gone abroad is sad. We have told Kolkata Mint to correct the damage and give us new medals. They have agreed,” said Samuel.

A total of 693 victory medals (221 gold, 221 silver and 251 bronze medals) were procured from Kolkata Mint at an estimated cost of Rs. 61 lakh.

The manufacturing company is known for its rich minting heritage and legacy of producing quality products. They are responsible for minting of all coins circulated in the country.

Published 05 Apr 2014, 18:07 IST
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