‘We stand united on Sports Bill’
The revised sports policy draft got unflinching support on Thursday with a panel of elite sportspersons — led by cricketing legend Kapil Dev and Olympic silver-medallist RVS Rathore.india Updated: Nov 10, 2011 23:00 IST
The revised sports policy draft got unflinching support on Thursday with a panel of elite sportspersons — led by cricketing legend Kapil Dev and Olympic silver-medallist RVS Rathore — saying nobody was above the law and that sportspersons had had enough.
On his part, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) acting president, VK Malhotra, cautioned sports minister, Ajay Maken, not to cross the “Lakshman Rekha”.
The likes of former football captain, Bhaichung Bhutia, multiple world champion in baize sport, Pankaj Advani, and former All England champion, Prakash Padukone, joined hands at a function organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), and asked the IOA and national sports federations (NSFs) to fall in line with the Bill, or else “Indian athletes feel they now have a voice”.
Double-trap shooter, Rathore, the most vocal of the lot, said, “Athletes have lost more than they have won (courtesy the federations) and it is time to change the system. If we fail now, we won’t see a Sports Bill in the next 20 years.”
Advani said the federations and IOA should realise that, “an athlete is the nucleus of the sporting ecosystem. If the Bill gets passed, it will be a step forward for Indian sports”.
Taking the issue forward, Kapil, in his inimitable style said, “Agar khiladi sports ko aage nahin le jaayenge toh kaun le jaayega. (If an athlete will not take sport forward, who will?)”
Pitching for a 25 per cent reservation for sportspersons in NSFs, as envisaged in the Draft Bill, he said, “Doctor hi toh marz theek karega, koi aur thori karega (Only a doctor can cure illness, no one else).
“We might not win 100 medals in the Olympics (if we have adequate representation in NSFs) but we can do things 100 times better. Some people, for personal benefit do not want us to come. The biggest dakhalandaazi (impediment) in sport are these federations,” he added.
When his attention was drawn to the cricket board opposing the Bill, Kapil said, “Nobody is above the law. If the BCCI is trying to say no, then you know why they are doing so.”
Manisha Malhotra of the Mittal Champions Trust, which sponsors elite athletes, wanted to know why the IOA and NSFs felt the Bill was draconian. “Perhaps they are all ill-informed. Everything in the Bill is as per the International Olympic Committee Charter,” she said.
IOA chief Malhotra lashed out at Maken for using “intemperate language”.
“Exuberance does not mean that one should cross the limit of decency,” said an IOA press release, in response to Maken’s recent comments targetting the IOA.