London Olympics: Government approves contingent of 142
The sports ministry on Wednesday cleared a 142-member contingent for the London Olympics, as recommended by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). Compared to previous trips to the Olympics, the emphasis this time was on ensuring the total number was kept to a realistic figure and needless officials did not jump onto the bandwagon. Of the 142 members, 81 are athletes who have qualified. Athletics has the largest presence with a total of 21, which included athletes, coaches and managers. Shooting has a total presence of 16, inclusive of coaches, support staff and managers while the total boxing contingent comes to 15.
The total number of coaches cleared by the ministry comes to 36, in addition to four managers. An eight-member medical panel has also been cleared, which includes doctors ad physiotherapists. The sports ministry has also cleared six 'P'-category officials. These include Sanjay Singh, physical trainer of Leander Paes, and Shamal Vallabhjee, who helps out Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna with their fitness. Abhinav Bindra had asked for his mental trainer, Amit Bhattacharya, and foreign coach, Uwe Linn, to be cleared, and this has been accepted.
There are also seven contingent officials who have been cleared, including the support staff of the IOA. The big change is that compared to previous Olympics, the ministry has kept its own officials down to just two. This has been done keeping in mind the austerity measures put in place by the government.