New Delhi: Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore Monday said he will not hesitate to sack his officials if they delay sanction of incentives for athletes but also warned against false accusations.
Speaking at a felicitation function for the Commonwealth Games medal winners here, Rathore said there was no dearth of money in Indian sports but the funds will have to be used for justified purposes by both the athletes as well as the federations.
“The officials in sports ministry and Sports Authority of India have been tasked to attend to your requirements and resolve your issues at the earliest. At any point in time if I hear that sportspersons are having issues in getting these incentives and funds there are few heads that will roll,” the minister said.
“But before you (athlete) make any accusation, please be very sure that there was an error on our part and not on your part. There was this case that came to me, an athlete was complaining that he or she was not getting the incentive money. I was about to suspend one of my officers but later found out that the money was allotted to that athlete one year ago,” he said.
India won 66 medals (26 gold, 20 silver, 20 bronze) in the Gold Coast CWG. In total 70 athletes won medals, counting the mixed team and doubles events in some disciplines. Rathore gave away the financial incentives to the medal winners in the presence of Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra.
Most of the top athletes, including MC Mary Kom, Sushil Kumar, Saina Nehwal, P V Sindhu, Mirabai Chanu, Neeraj Kumar, Manu Bhaker, Anish Bhanwala and Jitu Rai turned up. The likes of Manika Batra and Heena Sidhu did not come because of their prior engagements.
The individual gold winners received Rs 30 lakh each while the silver and bronze medallists got Rs 20 lakh and Rs 10 lakh respectively. All the medal winners of team events got varying amount of money in different disciplines.
Rathore also said the functioning of the IOA and the National Sports Federations has improved but the funds allocated to them by the ministry should be properly spent.
“I am getting a very positive sense from Mr. Batra. He is already changing things within the IOA. The way IOA used to function that is not going to happen. Similarly some of the NSF heads are brilliant and they are doing a very good job.
“We will work in close coordination with them (IOA and NSFs). But each NSF or the their coaches need to justify with logic that every penny being spent is being used to its optimum.
“There is no dearth of resources in India and we are ready to open our finances for the use of the athletes but these spendings will have to by justified,” Rathore, an Olympic silver medallist shooter, said.
The minister said strong performance by the Indian athletes at international events also reflects the soft power status of the country.