New Delhi: The Sports Ministry has cleared an 804-member Indian contingent, including 572 athletes, for the Asian Games but said it will bear the expense of 755 members with 49 out of 232 officials allowed at no cost to the government.
The ministry cleared all the athletes and officials recommended by the Indian Olympic Association with the only rider being that only 49 officials can be part of the contingent at the cost of their respective federations. The government will bear the cost of 572 athletes, 183 officials, 119 coaches and 21 doctors and physiotherapists and 43 other extra officials. Out of the 572 athletes cleared to take part in 36 sports, 312 are men while the rest 260 are women.
The government refused to bear the cost of all the 26 managers named in the list submitted by the IOA. Three coaches and 20 other extra officials were also cleared at no cost to the government.
The long protracted process of naming of the Indian contingent and subsequent clearance by the ministry thus came to an end without any major tussle between the government and the IOA, which had submitted its list on Monday. In fact, in a somewhat surprising move, the sports ministry cleared a 12-member IOA contingent, which includes the Chef de Mission and his four deputies, at government cost without the list even being presented before it.
The IOA had said that its 12-member contingent, which includes office staffers and medical team, need no clearance from the government as they would be sent at its own cost. It had not submitted the list to the ministry which had earlier raised objections to Raj Kumar Sacheti being named as one of the four deputy Chefs de Missions.
“…convey the approval of the government for participation of 804 members (572 athletes, 122 coaches/high performance directors, )26 managers, 21 doctors and physiotherapists and 63 other officials including the IOA contingent and medical team) of the Indian contingent to participate in the Asian Games,” said the official letter from the sports ministry to the IOA.
“The participation of these 755 members of the Indian contingent has been approved at cost to government. Actual air passage cost (economy class) inclusive of visa fee, airport tax in respect of 572 sportspersons, 119 coaches/ high-performance director, 21 doctors and physiotherapists and 43 other officials cleared at cost to government,” it added.
Three out of the 122 coaches submitted by the IOA has been cleared at no cost to government as P-Card category. The ministry letter said that the 43 other officials “includes 12 members of IOA contingent and one extra official on fencing team. Actual number of other officials cleared at cost to government will depend on the details received from IOA”.
Athletics, which had given the highest number of medals (13) in the last Asian Games in 2014, has most number of participants (50) and its contingent is the biggest at 75. Surprisingly, canoe-kayak is second in terms of number of players (49) and number of contingent members (60). Hockey is third with 36 players forming a 51-strong contingent.
Shooting, which had yielded second highest number of medals (9) in the last edition, will have 28 participants out of 36-strong contingent. Athletics is the worst hit in terms of number of officials, with seven of them being told to bear their own cost. Besides two managers, five officials have been cleared at no cost to government.
Four personal trainers, including coach of sprinter Dutee Chand — N Ramesh Singh –, have been cleared as a P-Card category. 400m coach Basant Singh is the other official cleared at no cost to government. All the six-team officials of kurash have been cleared at no cost to government with one being given P-Card category. For handball also, five team officials out of 10 submitted will have to bear their own cost.
Unlike the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games contingent in April, the IOA has not allowed any parents of the players to be named as extra officials. However, badminton stars Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu’s personal physios have been included in the contingent and they have been cleared at government cost. Badminton will go to Jakarta with four physios.
The two foreign coaches of the badminton contingent — Dwi Kristiawan and Edwin Iriawan — have also been cleared at no cost to government. The lone nominated coaches of golf and karate have also been asked to bear their own cost. Shooter Heena Sidhu’s husband-cum-coach Ronak Pandit and star gymnast Dipa Karmakar’s personal coach Bishweshwar Nandi have also been cleared at government cost.
The 572 athletes and 119 coaches will get an out of pocket allowance of USD 50 per day while USD 25 per day will be given to the 21 doctors and physiotherapists and the 43 other officials, including the 12-member IOA contingent which will have the Chef de Mission and his four deputies.
The out of pocket allowance will be given for the period not exceeding the total duration of the Games plus actual number of days before the Games (for acclimatisation) and one day after the event.