Positive about India`s preparation for Olympics: Maken

New Delhi: Sports Minister Ajay Maken said on Monday that India`s preparations for the 2012 London Olympics were on track.

Addressing mediapersons in New Delhi, Maken said that his ministry had planned an outlay of 2.6 billion (49.32 million USD) rupees to spend training the athletes, 26 of whom had so far qualified for the big event.

"Around 26 of our athletes, from various disciplines have already qualified, while the total tally of the last Olympics was 57. After we had made our declaration in March-April, we selected 732 `core probables` from all over the country. 129 coaches have been assigned to them, of whom 19 are from abroad. We have also provided 65 people as support staff," he said.

Speaking on the contentious issue of Dow Chemicals sponsoring the Olympics, Maken said that the organisers` decision to drop the company`s logo from London Olympic Stadium was a positive development.

"No one thought that Dow would agree to remove its logo from the Olympic stadium. People thought that when Dow Chemicals is spending so much money there, it would never yield to the demand. (Now that) Dow has agreed to remove the logo, let us see what happens next. IOA has written a letter (to the) IOC and let us see how they want the government to decide on this," he said.

Dow Chemicals` decision to be a sponsor of the sporting mega event has been opposed internationally, since Dow owns the Union Carbide plant that was at the epicenter of one of the world`s worst industrial accidents in 1984 in India`s Bhopal.

Maken also referred to the Sports Bill drafted by his ministry, saying that he was lobbying to ensure its smooth passage.

"We have sent the Sports Bill for inter-ministerial consultation, and one is the consultation which is being done at an official level. At an unofficial level, I am personally speaking to many of my cabinet colleagues. The aim is that, this time when I take it to the cabinet, it has a smooth passage," he said.

Maken said that the sports bill would aid greater transparency and efficiency in sports bodies.

"We must bring the Sports Bill into force as soon as possible, because we have brought the RTI, 25 percent representation of sportsmen with voting rights, and age and tenure norms to ensure the transparency and efficiency of sports bodies," he said.

Maken`s stress on the new Sports Bill is mainly fuelled by the lack of transparency over the working of sports organisations in the country, many of which are run without a proper written system of administration, sportsmen having very little say in the management of their affairs.

Bureau Report

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