It's time to celebrate

  • Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 05, 2014 12:35 IST

Trust officials associated with sports associations to spoil the party during an international event.

If it was their dishonest ways during the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games (CWG) that showed the country in bad light, four years later in Glasgow, Scotland, two of the fraternity has caused a flutter.

On Saturday, Rajeev Mehta, secretary general of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), and Virender Singh Malik, an international wrestling official, were arrested by the Scotland police for two separate incidents.

While the former was arrested for driving under the influence and injuring two people, the latter was accused of sexually assaulting a hotel receptionist. At the time of going to press, the charges against both have been dropped for want of evidence.

However, the incidents must not cast a shadow over India’s otherwise inspiring performance in Glasgow.

With 65 medals — 15 gold, 30 silver and 19 bronze — the country finished at the fifth position in the games. Even though the numbers will pale in comparison to the 101 medals that the country won in 2010, the 2014 tally is still encouraging because it was notched up even though some disciplines like archery and Greco-Roman wrestling — India won 10 medals in these two disciplines last time — were dropped this time.

In Glasgow, the grapplers put up a brilliant performance; so have the shooters and boxers. Then there was the sterling performance of Dipa Karmakar, who became the first Indian woman to win a medal in artistic gymnastics, and Arpinder Singh, who won a bronze in triple jump. On the last day, P Kashyap got the country’s first badminton gold in 32 years.

Even though charges have been dropped, sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal should set up a probe panel to investigate the whole issue.

This is not the first time an official has been accused of misconduct. In 2006, during the CWG in Australia, an official travelling with the Indian team was charged after he reportedly assaulted a teenaged cleaner in his room in the Games’ Village.

Irrespective of what comes out of the Glasgow incidents, the IOA must ensure that only officials with impeccable credentials are chosen for such assignments. For the time being we should make sure that the spotlight remains on the athletes who have made the country proud.

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