Aiyar claims hosting of CWG didn't help Indian athletes
Former Sports Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, arguably the most ardent critic of the just-concluded Commonwealth Games, still thinks India should not have hosted them, claiming that instead of offering more facilities to athletes, sports bodies were focusing on organising events.india Updated: Oct 16, 2010 15:56 IST
Former Sports Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, arguably the most ardent critic of the just-concluded Commonwealth Games, still thinks India should not have hosted them, claiming that instead of offering more facilities to athletes, sports bodies were focusing on organising events.
"My criticism is never ever with the Indian athletes, instead I believe if this Commonwealth Games was to be held anywhere else we still would have won all the medals," the Congress leader said.
"In this game they have won (medals) not because they are provided with special facilities as a home team. They won in spite of the fact that the facilities which any home team expects from the games were denied to them owing to the incompetence of our sports officials and others connected with the organising committee," he told CNN-IBN.
Aiyar said the expenditure on the mega sporting event had gone up by four times than the annual budget of the rural health mission.
"We are in a country where 47 per cent of the children under five years of age suffer from malnutrition because nine out of 10 pregnant women are suffering from anaemia. We have one of the highest infant mortality rates," he said.
"Instead of making the nation of sports persons, we are converting ourselves into an organiser of the sports events," Aiyar said.
He said that India should never host games of this magnitude until it reaches a stage where sporting facilities and training and adequate nutrition for the bulk of children could be provided.
When asked about chairman of the Organising Committee Suresh Kalmadi's role, Aiyar said "I have never said anything against Mr Kalmadi. I am not going to say any word against Mr Kalmadi."
"I want the investigation promised by the PM to take place with all deliberate speed and outcome and those who are held guilty by investigations should be given strong punishment by the PM."