NEW DELHI - Silver medal-winning Indian discus-thrower Vikas Gowda's victory podium outburst against the Commonwealth Games' busybodies, who hadn't allowed his father, Shive, any officially sanctioned entry opportunities, has served to highlight a "scam" in the distribution of accreditation cards by the event's organising committee, it was learnt today.
Gowda trains in the USA under his father, who was India's 1988 Olympics coach for athletics. "Truth to tell," a source close to the organising committee told The Statesman here, "how accreditation cards were issued to carloads of completely undeserving unknowns has sparked off trouble within the CGOC, with some of its high officials moving openly around followed by family members and hangers-on, the whole caboodle smugly flaunting the officially released documents dangling from their necks.
Officials from some national federations whose disciplines are not even featured in the Commonwealth Games too can be seen to be powerful and influential enough to be tailed by their card-bedecked followers. How the CGOC deviated from its own, openly declared criteria for selection for the accreditation of officials is a mystery even to a lot of people on the panel.
There're none too muted allegations of abuse of authority against athletics' Mr Lalit Bhanot and Mr S Bali, of handball." Calls to Mr Suresh Kalmadi's cellphone were not answered, which was scarcely unusual, but that left no one any the wiser about whether he knew if the cards were being literally cashed in on too. Mr Bhanot is the secretary of both the CGOC and the Athletics Federation of India and Mr Bali leads Indian handball, which is not in the Commonwealth Games. A Chhattisgarh state Olvmpic Association too is described as a "big distributor of the same favour."
Said the source, insisting on anonymity: "Go where you'll and these card-flashing hordes are there, seating in the VVIP zone. No one knows where they've come from. Never before have they been seen at any sporting event." The cards, the source said, were to have been given only to state association presidents and secretaries, apart from national federation chiefs and secretaries. The federations were also allowed "seven accompanying guests each." The quotas were clear and no violations were to have been permitted.
Disciplines included in the Commonwealth Games were to have been prioritised.
"If these rules were honoured, things wouldn't have got out of the hand the way they have," the source said, adding: "But it seems, as of now, that lunatics have taken the asylum over. And Gowda isn't the only one to have suffered. Bengal high-jumper Harishankar Roy's coach, Mr Subhas Sarcar, wasn't deemed worthy of an accreditation either." The source acknowledged that the Commonwealth Games being within the purview of the Right to Information Act, information about card distribution could always be requested by means of it, if anyone was inclined to find it out, obliging the CGOC to come out with all details.