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Top SAI official shifted in archery fiasco aftermath

other Updated: Jun 09, 2011 00:32 IST
Navneet Singh

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has ordered the transfer of its regional director of the Eastern Centre, Suresh Harmilapi, from Kolkata. Harmilapi was at the centre of a controversy following complaints from the country's top archers who were attending the national camp for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The Eastern Centre has been the base of the national archers for the past eight years and within months of Harmilapi taking charge from former regional director, VVSN Rao, in December 2008, complaints of deteriorating facilities started pouring in.

Of late, complaints regarding substandard food and unhygienic conditions at the camp had been received and things reached a stage where the archers, led by coach Limba Ram, boycotted breakfast, saying it was unpalatable.

The incident happened in the build-up to the Antalya leg of the World Cup where India is currently competing.

SAI director-general, Desh Deepak Verma, took note of the issue and ordered a probe. After a speedy assessment, the Verma thought it appropriate to shift Harmilapi out of Kolkata. "We will not make any comprise as far as the national camps are concerned," the director-general told HT.

Harmilapi, however, played down the issue, saying he had requested the SAI corporate office for a transfer on family grounds. "My shifting out of Kolkata has nothing to do with the archery camp fiasco,"

he said, adding, "It's just a coincidence that the archery issue cropped up when my request for transfer was granted.

"I am due to retire in six months. Hence, I had asked for a transfer to Delhi," said Harmilapi. "Players at the camp were always looked after properly," he reiterated.