In the end it turned out to be money for nothing. Well, at least in the context of the boxing competition of the London Olympics that is.
In a bid to better the Beijing Olympics performance where Vijender Singh won boxing's first medal for India, orders were placed for a punch-measuring machine, a heart monitoring system and other high-end equipment. The demands were accepted, money sanctioned and orders placed. But the machines didn't arrive in time for the Games that begin this week.
PK Muralidharan Raja, secretary-general of IBF said, "These are equipment that were required six months ago and there is no use if we get it six weeks before the Games. So, for the last two months we have confined ourselves to Olympic training and not keeping track on the development related to the procurement of the hi-tech machines. We can use it for our preparations for the 2014 Asian and Commonwealth Games."
The Indian Boxing Federation (IBF) has been asking for a punch-measuring machine since the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Among other things, it is a device used to calculate the force of a punch and reaction times.
But it wasn't till May 8, 2012, that the IBF got the green light from the steering committee set up for Olympic preparations to buy the machine that cost R9.9 lakh. A sum of R7.4 lakh, or 75% of the amount, was sanctioned and it was placed on the priority items' list. Yet the machine didn't arrive in time for the final preparatory camp for the boxers, in Patiala from July 1-10.
Requesting anonymity given the sensitive nature of the case, a SAI official admitted this but without elaborating, said the delay in placing the orders were due to "technicalities".
"We have checked from the Patiala-based company to whom the order was placed and we were told that the machine has already been imported to India and that they are waiting for some software. Shortly, they will install it at the NIS, Patiala," the official said.
Ditto a heart-monitoring system and some other high-end scientific equipment costing R5.16 lakh. At an earlier steering committee meeting on April 13, 2012, permission was given to buy them and again 75% of the amount sanctioned.
In high spirits
"Success at the Beijing Olympics (where Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar lost in the quarter-finals and Vijender bagged a bronze) had raised expectations and we needed hi-tech training equipment to raise the bar. We had been demanding the equipments for a long time, but due to some technicalities, the orders were not placed on time. And that meant we missed the chance to train using these equipments. But the boys are in high spirits and for sure we will improve on the Beijing Olympics' performance," said one of the coaches with the India boxing squad.