Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gill calls Time Out on Kalmadi

In what might turn out to be the most radical decision ever taken by sports ministry of India, headed by Mr. M.S.Gill, the government has cracked its whip on the politicians turned sports administrators like Suresh Kalmadi and V.K.Malhotra, who have monopolized the various sports federations for many years. If the order gets through the imminent legal wrangles, it could well be a major turnaround for the future of sports in India.

The government has issued orders to limit the tenures of sports administrators to not more than 12 years, with or without break. This effectively means that Suresh Kalmadi’s reign on Indian Olympics Association will be over in 2012. Mr. Kalmadi has been IOA president for last 16 years. Like IOA, many sports federations have seen extended rule of politicians. Indian Archery Association is headed by V.K. Malhotra for more than 30 years. SukhdeoSingh Dhindsa heads Indian cycling Federation for fourteen years. K.P.singh Deo (Rowing Federation) and Capt. Satish Sharma (aero club) are also set to get their prolonged tenures cut short by this order.

Mr. Kalmadi and his comrades in arms, fellow NSF chiefs, not surprisingly, are furious at the government’s decision. For long the likes of Kalmadi have been exploiting the autonomous nature of Olympics movement to their advantage. Now also, they are daring the government to take to court. It remains to be seen whether the courts of India uphold the popular sentiment of common Indian sports fan that the politicians have been the undoing of state of sports in India.

This ruling of the government has been widely welcome by many former sportspersons like Milkha Singh. Now that the monopoly of the Kalmadis and Randhir Singh etc is set to be abolished, what is needed is more men of integrity, like Milkha Singh to enter into sports administration. Former sportsmen have by and large kept away from the politics of sports administration.