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|August 23, 2001||
Randhir Singh to request Milkha to accept Arjuna awardOnkar Singh
Indian Olympic Association secretary general and former ace shooter Randhir Singh is contemplating writing to Sports Minister Uma Bharti about the Arjuna awards controversy.
"I am planning to write a letter to the minister on the controversy, and suggest that besides the government nominees, four great sports persons should be associated with the Arjuna awards selection committee in order to avoid controversies in future," Randhir Singh told rediff.com, in an informal conversation at the Jawharlal Nehru stadium.
Earlier, he released a book entitled 'India's Highest Sports Awards and Those Who Won Them' by S S Gandhi.
Asked his views on the controversy that was kicked up by Milkha Singh, who rejected the Arjuna award, Randhir Singh said he would request the former ace quarter-miler to accept the award.
"If I were in his place I would have accepted the award. I was myself given the Arjuna award after 16 years. My father Raja Bhalendra Singh was then the president of the Indian Olympic Association and I could have got the award as and when I wanted. But then I did not believe in canvassing for the award. When you get an award you should be happy that your services have been recognized and not ask who else has got the award," Randhir said.
Talking about the alleged differences between the sports minister and IOA president Suresh Kalmadi, he admitted that it is more of an ego clash then anything else.
Are the Afro-Asian Games likely to be postponed?
"Let me make it very clear that the Afro-Asian Games are very much on and there is no question of them being postponed. If at all anything happens, the Games might be cancelled. But that looks to be a remote possibility," he said.
You boycotted the meetings with Ms Bharti...
"No, we are not boycotting the meetings. I have attended a series of meetings on Wednesday and I am attending the meetings even today. So where is the question of boycotting the meetings?" he asked.
The IOA had promised to foot 50 per cent of the total expenses but why are they backing out now?
"We are not backing out. We had said that we would raise the money, and since we have formed the organizing committee of 400-odd people it is for the committee do raise the money for the Games," he explained.
Is is necessary to have more than 400 people on the organizing committee?
"Let us leave it at that," he pleaded.
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