The Sports Ministry may have spent close to Rs 150 crores for training Indian athletes for the London Olympics. With less three weeks left for the prestigious event however, some of the participants still lack the basic equipment required to train.
The badminton players, for instance, do not even have a steady supply of shuttlecocks. Such is the sorry state that Chief Coach Pullela Gopichand has had to spend Rs 52 lakh from his account to buy shuttlecocks and other equipments required by the players. "It's almost been April since we started the camp. For various reasons we have not had shuttles. Hopefully I will get the reimbursement, because the last thing I want is for training to be affected. None of the players even know about this," said Gopichand who is also responsible for coaching World Number 5 Saina Nehwal.
The shuttlers are not alone. Marksman Joydeep Karmakar missed two Olympic training events which could have helped him improve his game. The events were scheduled in Germany in the first week of June but Karmarkar failed to leave because of a delay in permit that would have allowed him to carry ammunition, from the Director General Civil Aviation.
Even walkers who stand a chance to win medals for the country are, perhaps, expected to do so with inappropriate or no shoes. at all.
Basant Bahadur Rana and Irfan KT, both sepoys in the Indian Army, were forced to buy their own equipment after Sports Authority of India failed to provide them with shoes.
While members of the Indian sporting contingent continues to suffer from apathy, in complete contrast, a three-member contingent including Kerala Sports Minister K B Ganesh Kumar have been given tickets to London and will also be paid daily allowance of close to Rs 28,000 during the course of the games.