- 1Former Indian hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay has hit out at Vijay Goel
- 2Pillay asked why so many officials were accompanying the sports minister
- 3The ex-India captain also lashed out at the officials’ behaviour
“Who knows Vijay Goel in Rio?” asks an angry Dhanraj Pillay upon learning that the Indian sports minister has been pulled-up by the International Olympic Committee for flouting rules during the Games. “In India people may give him importance, but it isn’t going to happen at the Olympics”.
On Wednesday, the organisers threatened to cancel Goel’s accreditation, alleging the minister and his entourage entered areas which were off bounds. In a letter, Sarah Peterson, manager of Rio 2016 Organising Committee asked Rakesh Gupta, India’s chef de mission, to pass on the warning to the minister. It further stated that those accompanying Goel were ‘aggressive and rude’.
NDTV understands that over 40 officials are in Rio as guests of the India Olympic Association (IOA).
“Why is there a need for 40 officials to go for the Olympic Games. Just one minister should be enough to oversee things and boost the morale of our athletes”, Dhanraj told NDTV
It is not uncommon for politicians in India to be given special privlidges during major sporting events at home, whereby they are allowed to enter restricted areas – no questions asked – sometimes even enter the players’ dressing rooms. Dhanraj Pillay, a veteran of four Olympic Games, strongly feels that this practice needs to stop.
“When the Indian team loses, ministers come up and start coaching, it’s embarrassing for sportsmen. Those who never held a hockey stick in their life, tried to teach me about the sport.
“I have faced it so many times, during the Asian games and the Olympics. Ministers used to come, and if goals weren’t scored or passes missed, these ministers used to shout at us. During 1994 Asian Games, one minister questioned me about the way I was playing. They can’t come and discourage the athlete and ask how you are playing.
“In our country, ministers are given so much importance, and they don’t bother about others. They think they are everything in this country. This should be stopped,” said a fuming Dhanraj.