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India's Chief Medical Officer at Rio Olympics was indeed a radiologist

Pawandeep Singh, the chief medical office is the son of Tarlochan Singh who is the vice-president of the Indian Olympic Association.

News 24 Nov 2016, 10:08 IST
Vinesh Phogat
Vinesh Phogat was riling in pain but Indian medical officer was unable to help her

The government has finally confirmed that the Chief Medical Officer of the Indian contingent at the Rio Olympics 2016 was actually a radiologist and not a sports medicine expert. Sports Minister Vijay Goel revealed that the Chief Medical Officer, Pawandeep Singh, is indeed a radiologist.

As wrestler Vinesh Phogat suffered a knee injury and collapsed on the mat in pain during her 48kg quarterfinal bout against Sun Yanan of China, thousands of viewers who were watching the match recoiled in horror.

Her imminent suffering left even her opponent distraught. However, Pawandeep Singh, who was himself present in the arena did not take a step forward to help the ailing wrestler. It was no surprise that Vinesh, one of India’s medal hopefuls, was unable to continue and had to retire from the bout.

Now it has come to light as to why the Chief Medical Officer of the Indian contingent did not offer any help. He simply could not help her as he was a radiologist and not an expert on sports medicine. The choice of personnel had raised question marks during the Olympic Games itself back in August.

The government’s revelation in the parliament on Tuesday led to allegations of nepotism because Pawandeep is the son of Tarlochan Singh who is the vice-president of the Indian Olympic Association. On this note, it could be further taken into account that Pawandeep also served as the Chief Medical Officer in the South Asian Games.

On Tuesday, Ritabrata Banerjee, the CPI (M) Rajya Sabha MP, directed his question to Vijay Goel, asking whether a radiologist was sent as the chief doctor for the Indian contingent to Rio. Goel then proceeded to provide the details of the medical team that accompanied the Indian contingent to Rio.

Goel confided that the IOA had informed the sports ministry that while Pawandeep is a radiologist, the two other doctors, Dr Rajkumar Singh Negi and Dr Kenjom Ngomidir both specialise in sports medicine. Dr Negi holds and MD with sub-speciality in musculoskeletal imaging while Dr Ngomidir is an MBBS and PG diploma holder in sports medicine.

Tarlochan supported his son’s inclusion and claimed that Pawandeep was a qualified doctor while reports in the media accused Pawandeep of taking a ‘pleasure trip’ to Brazil. Goel’s statement, however, did not mention if any action would be taken against Pawandeep regarding the issue.

Also read: Indian wrestlers shine bright at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship

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