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Think before you axe, urge coaches

No sooner did the doping scandal come to light, sports minister, Ajay Maken, swung into action and suspended athletics coaches, RS Sidhu and N Ramesh.

india Updated: Jul 12, 2011 23:32 IST
Saurabh Duggal

No sooner did the doping scandal come to light, sports minister, Ajay Maken, swung into action and suspended athletics coaches, RS Sidhu and N Ramesh. Employed with the Sports Authority of India (SAI), the two were assisting the foreign coach, Yuri Ogordnik, in the national camp.

Guilty or not, Sidhu and Ramesh have been caught on the wrong foot, and the step has led to raised eyebrows. "When it came to punishing them, the ministry didn't bother to check if they were involved in the scandal, but why is it dragging its feet when it comes to awarding us," said a wrestling coach, who was part of the core group during the Commonwealth Games' preparatory camps.

It's been eight months and the ministry is yet to give the coaches (Sidhu and Ramesh included) their due for helping produce sterling performances in the Commonwealth and Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. Under ministry rules, a coach gets a cash award equivalent to 50% of what the player gets for winning a medal in an international event.

Show me the money
Immediately after the Delhi Games in October, the ministry disbursed cash awards to the medal winners. Those who did the country proud at the Asian Games in November were feted in February. Put together, India had 286 medallists in the CWG and Asian Games, and the ministry distributed Rs 22.57 crore -- Rs 20 lakh for gold, Rs10 lakh for silver and Rs6 lakh for bronze.

Similarly, coaches are entitled to, at least on paper, Rs 10 lakh, Rs 5 lakh and Rs 3 lakh for coaching their wards to gold, silver and bronze. But, all they have got is hollow promises.

Earlier, a medallist could recommend his coach for a creditable performance, and the latter was paid accordingly. In view of the long camps in the build-up to the CWG, SAI sent a proposal to the ministry that the money be distributed among the coaches in national camps.

"Right now, everything is with the ministry and only they know when the money will be released," said a senior SAI official. Another senior official, who deals with the special awards, said he was on leave and could throw light on the subject once he resumes office.