All is not well between the Indian Olympic Association president Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra and secretary-general Rajiv Mehta.
There had been a speculation of about a cold war between the top two executives in the elite body for Olympic sports in India, but the latest exchange of strongly-worded emails has made it apparent that the IOA president and secretary are not on the same page.
The confrontation further escalated when Batra in a sarcastically drafted email had told Mehta that some of his duties will be delegated to other office-bearers in the IOA. “I have decided to take over/divide much of your workload and will be doing the needful in days to come and since I am Delhi based and few other people who are regularly coming to Delhi will now have to share the divided responsibilities/burden. Your very important advice will always be sought,” Batra wrote to Mehta.
Mehta’s response was no less terse. “…My family appreciated my commitment and is supportive of my endeavours and will like to see me doing more for sports by stationing myself in Delhi and discharging my responsibilities as secretary general of IOA.”
“As for your desire to take over some of my responsibilities, I may inform you that I am perfectly comfortable with the work load assigned to me by the General Body, as their elected secretary general. If you had such desires of doing day to day affairs, I would have stepped down in 2017 and you should have contested as secretary general of IOA,” Mehta responded.
Batra, who doesn’t believe in keeping things in wraps, had made public both the emails.
The tension had reportedly escalated after Mehta had openly objected to Batra’s idea of opening up sporting facilities as per the Ministry of Youth Affairs of Sports standard operating procedure. “It’s not the time. Why so hurry? Let’s wait. In any case, it’s not a proper sports season. Olympic is postponed to next year July. So what is the compelling reason to restart the games so early when the cases are rising? It is not right to force them to restart training. Who will be responsible if someone gets infected with the virus?” Mehta had responded.
The tension between the duo now appears to escalate further. Batra has made his intent clear in a short but terse response to Mehta’s mail. “Thank you for your trailing email in response to my email. I sent my email with all good intentions, but now I take note of the content’s of your trailing email, I note and observe that you have made an effort to express what is actually inside your mind/heart. I will certainly be keeping your advice in mind when I will be taking decision’s on division of work within the IOA,” responded Batra.
The dispute between the IOA president and secretary-general is certainly not in the interest of Indian sport and sportspersons during an Olympic year.