Four months after the Rio Olympics, Indian golfer SSP Chawrasia slammed the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for not giving the promised preparatory money of Rs 30 lakh for the 2016 Olympics. He said he would think twice before going to the next Olympics.
Both he and golfer Anirban Lahiri are yet to receive the allocated money from the sports ministry.
Enraged Chawrasia termed the IOA officials treatment at the Games as if they were their “servants”.
Chawrasia who won the Hero Indian Open and Resorts World Manila Masters this year told the reporters the 16 titles winner around the world, Anirban Lahiri have not got even a penny while he himself managed to get Rs 5.5 lakh. “I have the letter where they promised to reimburse up to Rs 30 lakh. But post-Rio we’re told that the amount is reduced to Rs 15 lakh.”
He alleged in Rio the IOA officials did not do any proper arrangement right from vehicle arrangement. There it was freezing cold and raining incessantly “and they did not even arrange an umbrella or raincoat for us. They would behave as if they were ‘maalik’ (owners) and we were their ‘naukars’ (servants).”
The golfer added the officials told them to wait at the airport for four hours for the vehicle and Lahiri came on his own. “We were feeling so bad. Now we will think twice before representing India at Olympics. We don’t like to keep on harping on this subject as we want to concentrate on the tougher assignments ahead.”
Talking about the payment issue he said in a letter the sports ministry promised of Rs 30 lakh for their expenses in Rio and also for the coaching camps they attended in the build-up to the Olympics.
“Lahiri has not got anything yet and was told that he has missed the deadline to submit the papers. It’s only because of a friend of mine, who made rounds of the office in Delhi for several days to submit the bills, that I could get Rs 5.5 lakh.”
Rakesh Gupta questioned Chowrasia’s complaint
India’s Chef-de-mission in Rio, Rakesh Gupta said Chawrasia should complain these issues during the Games instead of criticising after four months.
Gupta said the transportation arrangement of the athletes was the local organisers’ responsibility. He said athletes like Leander Paes, Abhinav Bindra were brought to the Games Village via the transport provided by the local organisers. Gupta added the Indian players reached in Rio in several batches. Some of them came alone; Chawrasia, Anirban Lahiri came alone, Aditi Ashok came with her father.
He added, “We cannot go to the airport every time and receive each of them. How we could we have done that, it is not possible. We had very few people from the IOA at Rio and there were a lot of other issues to attend to.”
Gupta questioned Chowrasia’s complaint. He said he met Chowrasia almost everyday at the Games village but he never complained. Also at the airport, they met again but there also he did not make any complaint. “If he had any issue, he would have told me at Rio and we could have taken up the issue.”