GOLD COAST : This is something we are accustomed to — last-minute drama at the Games Village. London Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal was peeved with the way her father Harvir Singh was ‘treated’. She shot off tweets on Monday saying that despite her spending money to fund her father’s travel, he was not being accommodated inside the Games Village.Apparently, in a letter to the Indian Olympic Association, she even threatened to pull out of the Games. “I msgd u and tried to call u but u didn’t pick up the call but there is so much issue going on with my father...if his accreditation is no (sic) cleared as an official I am not going to play the matches,” read the letter.
The IOA initially tried to stand their ground but finally had to give in to her demand. “The whole day, we have been trying to sort out Saina Nehwal’s issue,” said chef de mission Vikram Singh Sisodia at the Games Village on Tuesday, a day ahead of the opening ceremony. There is a sense of relief and a tinge of pride in his voice. Harvir, who was earlier registered as a personal coach, has been redesignated as an Athletic Official (AO).
Though Harvir was not initially accommodated in the Games Village, Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu’s mother was allowed to stay as the fifth official. According to Indian Olympic Association, only five could be accommodated in the Village as per norms and Harvir was left out.In a grand paradox, Sathish Sivalingam, gold medallist at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games who has been requesting for a physiotherapist to be part of the weightlifting team, failed to get one in the Village. This despite weightlifting being a physically demanding sport.
The physiotherapist, Aakrant Saxena, was part of the team until Melbourne, where the team went for training and acclimatisation. Now with the event just round the corner, the lifters are a little upset.
Though Sathish did not want to elaborate, he said that, without a physio, it becomes difficult for the lifters to recover in time. “Our recovery usually happens in the evening after training so we need him more then,” said Sathish. The physio is staying outside and the IOA is giving him a day pass. Sadly, Sathish is no Saina!