‘It will only help increase the accountability and transparency of the associations’
India's greatest ever Olympian Sushil Kumar strongly feels that panels similar to one headed by Justice RM Lodha to clean up the Board of Control for Cricket in India mess, is required to bring in more accountability and transparency in functioning of National Sports Federations (NSF).
"I don't mind if we have a Lodha Panel for all National Sports Federation (NSFs). It will only help increase the accountability and transparency of the associations. The coaches need to be accountable. We are in need of qualified coaches," Sushil said during a Sports Conclave organised by the Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB).
In fact RSPB secretary Rekha Yadav, who has represented the institutional unit during various BCCI meetings, agreed that cricket board's impressive infrastructure is pretty much in place.
"Much maligned that the BCCI is, one has to admit that they have put in a nice system in place," RSPB secretary said during a panel discussion.
India won three medals at the 2008 Olympics and doubled its tally in the 2012 edition but the two-time medallist feels that the nation couldn't cash in on the glass ceiling that was broken after Abhinav Bindra's first individual gold medal and his own bronze.
"I think we couldn't cash in on our performance in Beijing Olympics. Although we got six medals in London, we didn't improve as a sporting nation. The planning and preparation left a lot to be desired."
Five-time World Champion MC Mary Kom spoke about lack of qualified support staff (coaches and trainers) that has been the bane of Indian sport for the longest time.
"I remember once we had a boxing coach. After a few days, I made some enquiries about his credentials and found out that he has got his NIS degree in basketball or football. And that man later got Dronacharya award also," Mary Kom recollected as the entire audience including other panelists, Sushil and Bhaichung Bhutia, were in splits.
"We have seen doctors who would give you tablets to cure headache if you have a heel injury. There have been times when I haven't had a masseur," said Mary Kom.
Gymnast Dipa Karmakar's coach Bisweswar Nandi said had it not been for Sports Authority of India (SAI), the sport would have been long dead due to federation's apathy.
"For the last four years, we have not had any National Gymnastics Championship because there are two associations claiming to represent Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI). Who is responsible for this? Thanks to SAI that we still get proper training facilities," said Nandi.
The Dronacharya awardee spoke about lack of checks and balances while appointing foreign coaches.
"We have this fascination for foreign coaches. A few years back, an American coach was roped in and he had some degrees having passed a few theoretical exams but not practical knowledge.
"Now this man was after my life that I am ruining Dipa's career trying to perfect her Produnova. Later, it was found out, he was physically challenged and couldn't show technical movements," Nandi said.
India's former football captain Bhaichung Bhutia feels that while franchise-based private leagues are welcome, there is question mark about their contribution to development of sport at the grassroot level.
"Kolkata Knight Riders is a popular franchise but what is their contribution for development of cricket at the grassroots?" he asked.