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Thakur gives Rahode clean chit

Indian Chef De Mission Ram Lal Thakur claimed that Rathore never gave any controversial statement.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2006 17:08 IST

The Indian contingent on Wednesday rubbished allegations that its star shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had misbehaved with Asian Games volunteers during a practice session at the Lusail shooting range a few days ago saying there appeared to be "misrepresentation of facts".

The Doha Asian Games Organising Committee had sought an unconditional apology from Indian Olympic Association for Rathore's misconduct and also threatened to take legal action against the shooter for the incident.

Indian contingent's Chef De Mission Ram Lal Thakur issued a statement on Wednesday, in which he said the Olympic Silver medallist had never uttered anything critical of the Games organisers and they were happy with the arrangements in and outside the Athletes Village.

"With reference to the news item that appeared in the newspaper regarding an Indian athlete, I would like to mention that Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who is a responsible athlete, never said anything against DAGOC and it seems that it is a case of misrepresentation of facts," Thakur said.

"DAGOC have made nice arrangements for the comfort of all athletes in and outside the Village. We have all respect for the Organisers and those who are associated with the Games directly or indirectly. I may also add here that our relations with the Government of Qatar are age-old and in most graceful manner," he added.

Echoing the Chef de Mission's views, Indian Olympic Association Secretary-General Randhir Singh said the entire incident has been blown out of proportion and that the controversy would be sorted out eventually.

"At the moment, all I can say is that there appears to be some misrepresentation of facts. It will be sorted out," Singh said.

Rathore has also denied the allegation by blaming the unsavoury episode as a result of miscommunication.

"It was just a miscommunication. My problem was with the behaviour of the security in Doha. I never said anything against the volunteers. It's all been blown out of proportion," Rathore told PTI on Tuesday.

The Doha Asian Games Organising Committee, in an official letter sent to the Indian Olympic Association, has accused the Athens Olympic silver medallist of terming its volunteers as being "rude and unhelpful" and sought an immediate and unconditional apology for his "unwarranted and out-of-context allegations".

Rathore, however, maintioned that he was restricted from entering the practice arena at the Lusail Olympic Shooting Range just hours before the Games were declared open, a charge that has been denied by DAGOC.

"When I was not allowed to practice I just told them that we are the guests and they are the hosts and both should behave like that," the Olympic silver medallist said.

DAGOC claimed to the contrary in the letter made available to the press.

"Mr. Rathore was not denied access; rather he wanted to train against the rules. He went to the Lusail Shooting Complex for an unscheduled training session, despite an Olympic Council of Asia rule that allows shooters to practice based on their scheduled slots to provide fair opportunity to all competing athletes," the letter said.

First Published: Dec 06, 2006 17:08 IST