'All these national observers have been performing their duties as per the guidelines and role assigned to them by the Ministry.'
Rejecting allegations of conflict of interest against Sushil Kumar, the Sports Ministry on Thursday defended the star grappler's appointment as a national observer for wrestling.
A week after the suspended Narsingh Yadav wrote to the Ministry, alleging conflict of interest, Sports Minister Vijay Goel termed as 'baseless', the apprehensions raised by the grappler, who was embroiled in a pre-Olympic doping scandal last year.
Narsingh had questioned how Sushil could become a national observer, given his involvement in grooming of young wrestlers at the Chhatrasal Stadium's akhada, which is run by his father-in-law Satpal.
Sushil, India's lone double Olympic medallist, is among 14 Olympians appointed by the Sports Minister as national observers for their respective disciplines earlier this year.
Goel redefined the role of those eminent sportspersons, who were appointed by the Ministry as national observers for the first time for the development of sports.
"All these national observers have been performing their duties as per the guidelines and role assigned to them by the Ministry," Goel stated in a release.
The Minister also pointed out that as per the responsibilities assigned to the national observers, their job is to observe selection of national teams and to suggest measures for further strengthening free and transparent selection.
"Assessing the existing sports infrastructure/equipment, quality of scientific backup and medical facilities at the venues of the national coaching camps and report the critical gaps.
"To observe, analyse, review and report on the performance of Indian and foreign coaches and the progress of performances of the campers," the Ministry said.
Besides, the national observers are also supposed to maintain a database on the performance profile of individual athletes as well as coaches.
"To assist the performance of national team in the international tournaments and suggest training needs of athletes including foreign training and competition exposure with special focus on sub junior and junior level athletes.
"To examine complaints from players and other stakeholders by taking up the matter with the NSF (National Sports Federations) concerned for redressal and send a report to the Ministry.
The Ministry said that their job is also to assist NSFs/National Sports promotion Organisations/ SAI in preparation and finalisation of ACTC.
"To accompany the national team for international exposure as may be required," Goel said.
Image: Sushil Kumar
Photograph: Suhaib Salem/Reuters