Says penalty not good in sports; GFA acting secy slams Rajeev’s 360 degree U-turn
PANJIM: Goa Olympic Association Secretary General Gurudatta Bhakta on Wednesday expressed confidence that the 36th National Games will be held in Goa.
It may be recalled that earlier on Tuesday; Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Secretary General Rajeev Mehta had said that the IOA would consider shifting the Games out of the coastal State if it does not show commitment to host them.
On hosting the Games, Bhakta said, “Shifting the venue will come up only after all things are exhausted and when the matter comes up in the IOA executive committee. I am confident that the Games will be held in Goa”.
“We are awaiting the proposal from the Goa Government, which will later be taken up in the executive committee. As I am the member of the committee, I will talk on behalf of the State wherein I will explain the exact reason behind postponement of the Games”, he said.
Clearing Rajeev’s doubts whether the amount of Rs 100 crore received by the State government for hosting the Games has been used for the same purpose or not, Bhakta said, “We have not received the full amount but only a part, which we received, has been utilised in building the stadiums.”
“The amount was spent on building stadiums including the ones for Lusofonia Games, which will also be used for the National Games”, he said.
On the Rs 10 crore fine which is likely to be imposed on the State, Bhakta said, “Penalty is not a good thing in sports. This matter can be taken up in the executive committee meeting and solved out amicably. It is not a small amount. You cannot penalise the State which is keen on organising the Games.”
“We were fully prepared to host the Games in March, but were postponed for a genuine reason (poll campaign and Lok Sabha elections) which came as a surprise. Earlier, with the declaration of the dates, we were unaware of the by-elections. The by-polls are a reasonable cause, which the GOA has presented for postponement”, he said.
The Goa Football Association’s acting Secretary Jovito Lopes, who attended the meeting of GOA members in Panjim on Monday said, he was surprised over Rajeev’s comments as originally the IOA general secretary was ‘OK’ with the postponement of the Games.
“His outbursts in New Delhi are totally uncalled for as he spoke one thing in Goa and now he has done a 360 degree U-turn, which is not acceptable in sports. Such behaviour only happens in politics”, Jovito said.
“He could have been sincere and honest rather than saying that given the situation the Games could be held two or three months later. He is on record saying that the Games, which were originally planned for March-April, could be held two or three months later.
It was only when the president of Goa Taekwondo Association Adv Rajeev Mangeshkar and myself walked to Rajeev to inform him that the Games cannot be held during the monsoon i.e. from June to September. It was only then he said that it could be held in October-November”, he added.