The good thing is the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) is issuing accreditation cards to the country's eminent sportspersons that will allow them to watch the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the competitions in all the venues. The bad thing is that the OC, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) or the national federations haven't informed the sporting greats about such an arrangement.
All national sports awardees, Asian and Commonwealth Games gold-medallists, Olympic and World Championship medallists are eligible to get accreditations. But in this age of information technology, most --- if not all --- are unaware that they are been accorded this special privilege.
A few, who have got their accreditations, have either come to know through word of mouth or been informed by fellow athletes. Sources said it was the duty of the OC, the respective federations and the IOA to inform them about the special privilege.
“I have no idea about such an accreditation,” said Arjuna Awardee Parveen Kumar, who acted the role of Bhim in the TV serial 'Mahabharata'. “I am settled in Delhi, yet nobody bothered to inform me. Now, even if someone invites me, I will not go. Kalmadi and Co. think former athletes are no good,” said the former hammer thrower who won gold in the Asian Games and silver in CWG.
Former Olympian Gurbachan Singh Randhwa is also peeved. “We are hosting the Games and if we are ignored in our country, how is Olympic sport going to prosper. Why would anybody take up sports other than cricket,” said Randhawa.
Commonwealth Games wrestling gold-medallist in 1970, Ved Prakash, too didn't have an idea about such an accreditation till HT spoke to him on Thursday. “During the 1982 Asian Games, I had requested the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, to make some arrangement for former sportsperson,” said Milkha Singh. “She immediately called up Buta Singh who promptly got us the passes. A couple of months back, I wrote to OC chief Suresh Kalmadi citing the 1982 Games example and requested him to do something. A fortnight back, he wrote to me asking for my photographs for accreditation. It's not the question of Milkha alone, there are others who would miss out because of lack of information.”
Harish Sharma, a senior OC official looking after accreditation, however said, “All eminent sportspersons applying for accreditations will not have any problems.”