Sports ministry to review Rio debacle

Leap of faith Dipa Karmakar performs at Rio Olympics

Vijay Goel, Union minister of state for youth affairs and sports, has sent individual letters to each of the 117 athletes who competed in the Rio Olympic Games in a bid to internally review and dissect the issues that were largely responsible for the poor performance at the Summer Games. India had returned with just two medals—a silver and a bronze, after projections of medals in double digits were made by all stakeholders concerned. The letters have already been sent out and suggestions sought either in person or via email.

In a press release issued by the MYAS, it was stated that “a thorough review of India's performance will be conducted.” The minister stressed the need for more inputs from performers so that the pool of world class players can be enhanced and sports infrastructure strengthened. There is no time frame for the review; it will incorporate feedback as and when it comes to the ministry.

Goel has also written to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) asking for their feedback on India's performance in Rio and steps for improving the performance in future. Similar feedback is also being sought from individual national sports federations. While IOA and ministry had gone on record, expecting 10-12 medals, Sports Authority of India (SAI) had reportedly mentioned that the country would come close to a tally of 19 medals in its pre-Rio report.

The MYAS release stated that the ministry would also “look at duties and responsibilities of various members of the Indian contingent.” This means the role of the chef de mission, media officer, doctors, coaches and other support staff will be scrutinised to see where they were working or lacking, and who should have been there.

The Prime Minister's Office has already ordered the formation of a task force to suggest what needs to be done to improve India's performance at the world level. The composition of the task force is yet to be finalised.

The SAI, too, has reviewed the performance. Director General of SAI Injeti Srinivas, under whose supervision the review was done, has submitted the report to the ministry.

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