ACTC meetings pending, athletes force to fend for themselves

Supplement allowance for rowers attending national camps stopped on April 1, they are scheduled to compete in World Cup next month

Published: 06th April 2023 10:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th April 2023 10:51 AM   |  A+A-

RFI, Rowing Federation of India, rowing

For representational purpose (Photo | RFI website)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: As many as 15 men rowers will represent the country at the World Cup scheduled in Croatia from May 5 to 7. All of them are camping at the Army Rowing Node (ARN) in Pune. Everything went on well till March 31 but since then the rowers have not received their supplement allowances, which is Rs 490/day/athlete.

The situation is likely to continue for at least a week as the Rowing Federation of India's (RFI) ACTC (annual calendar for training and competition) meeting is scheduled on April 12 and the ongoing camp can be sanctioned only in that meeting.

"Every athlete gets 690/day for diet and Rs 490/day for supplements. This has stopped since the end of the financial year 2022-23 as the camp for 2023-24 can only be sanctioned during the ACTC. A meeting with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) had already been held but the presentation done by the RFI couldn't impress the officials. The federation will meet them again on April 12," an RFI source closely monitoring the situation told this daily.

A total of 28 men rowers are camping in Pune while 18 women rowers are camping in Hyderabad. All of them are facing the same problem. "It's true. We are not getting the supplement allowance since April 1. We are managing with the leftovers from the previous cycle. A few of us are also spending from our own pockets as we were told that the expenses incurred will be reimbursed once the meeting is over and camp is sanctioned," said one of the rowers attending the camp.

Unfortunately, there have been concerns regarding the release of funds for quite some time. Some of the National Sports Federations (NSFs) have not received money for hosting nationals even. It is understood that the sports ministry has stopped funding under assistance to the NSFs head apparently due to some court order last year. Though camps and everything have been sanctioned in the last ACTC, the release of funds has been a concern.

"We have organised national championships and other competitions but the process has become complicated these days. While the SAI makes payments directly to vendors but a few big expenditures are made directly by the NSFs. If these payments get delayed, NSFs get in trouble. Apart from this, teams also attend international tournaments. Those expenses are also pending," said an office-bearer of one of the NSFs.

As far as RFI camps are concerned, the dietary requirements are being managed on goodwill. "We are getting diet on credit. These caterers have been serving our campers for a long time so at the moment they don't mind providing food to our athletes. But the situation can go out of hand if the camps are not sanctioned soon. It can also affect performance in the upcoming World Cup," added the RFI source.

Notably, all the selected rowers are scheduled to appear in the visa interviews soon. Like them, athletes from other federations are also preparing for important events like Olympic qualifiers and Asian Games. However, such issues could have a lasting effect on their performances which in turn may take a toll on India's show at the 2024 Paris Olympics. "The ACTC meetings with the NSFs should have been completed before the end of the financial year. The issue can still be resolved but authorities need to act swiftly," signed off the RFI source.


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