Politicians have captured sports associations: Milkha Singh

Published: 11 December, 2013 00:22 IST | IANS |

Politicians and moneyed people have captured sports associations in India and this is killing sports, India's star athlete of yesteryears Milkha Singh said Tuesday.

"Politicians and people with money have captured sports associations. That is why there is no progress," said Singh, often referred to as the 'Flying Sikh', told media persons on the sidelines of the unveiling of the mascot for the Lusofonia Games here.

Milkha Singh
Milkha Singh

Singh's comment come less than a week after the Supreme Courtexpressed concern that politicians and businessmen were heading the various sports associations in India.

A bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and J. Chelameshwar Dec 5 observed it was "a sad commentary that people who are administrators of the game have nothing to do with sports and they run the bodies at the cost of the game".

"Sports are run by private individual persons. Private individuals are controlling the games in India. Can the game be held hostage by private interest," it said.

'Foreign coaches get athletes hooked to drugs' 
India does not need foreign coaches because they tend to hook young athletes on to drugs, claimed former athlete Milkha Singh, and called for an overhaul of the coaching system in India.

The 'Flying Sikh' was speaking to reporters Tuesday on the sidelines of the unveiling ceremony of the official mascot for the Lusofonia Games.

"There is no need for foreign coaches. While teaching they (foreign coaches) get athletes addicted to drugs," he alleged, making a case for appointing Indian coaches. He also said that coaches should be taken on contract and not on a permanent salary basis.

"Coaches to train these promising athletes for the future should be hired on a contractual basis, with tight deadlines indicating how and when their performance thus far may be assessed," he urged.

"I think that the emphasis should lie on the appointment of good and capable coaches, wherever they may come from. For instance, none of mine came from abroad, yet, they excelled at their job," Singh said.

He also said that a serious amount of planning had to go into athletic events, which should attract talent from a very early stage. Singh called on India to emulate China as far as developing sports talent and infrastructure are concerned.

"There are several independent sports bodies that require to step up their game, and take note of the fine example that China has set in terms of sports development. If this model can be replicated, I believe the future to be very bright indeed," he said. 

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