The Sports Authority of India (SAI) is sending a senior administrative official with little knowledge of sports, or to be more precise, no knowledge of cycling, to Switzerland later this month to study infrastructure at the World Cycling Centre, the International Cycling Union-run training centre.
Once there, he will analyse the practice schedule of the four Indian cyclists, who will be training there for the Junior World Championships at Glasgow, Scotland, in July.
After the encouraging performance of the junior girls at the Asian Cycling Championship in New Delhi in March, SAI cleared a proposal to send four girls along with a lady coach for an eight-week training stint at the state-of-the-art World Cycling Centre in Aigle. The girls will be leaving for Switzerland next week. Apart from the cyclists, SAI also cleared a proposal to send SC Sharma, who was recently transferred from Patiala to New Delhi as director, coordinator, to study cycling infrastructure in Switzerland and watch the Indians train.
SAI is planning to use Sharma’s inputs to set up a world-class training academy at the Commonwealth Games velodrome in New Delhi.
“The high-ups in SAI should know they are not sending the official on a holiday. If they wanted someone to study the infrastructure in Switzerland, they should have sent someone with a cycling background,” a SAI official told HT.
When contacted, Jiji Thomson, director-general, SAI, said, “I agree that Sharma does have a cycling background, but studying infrastructure and training centre is not rocket science. I am sending him so that he can gain exposure which can be used when he gets the chance to manage a SAI regional centre.”
Asked whether it would have been better had someone with knowledge of cycling been sent, Thomson said, “There is a rotation policy for foreign trips. Those with a cycling background have been on foreign trips many times. Sharma is a director-level officer and has never been on a foreign tour in his long career.”