Shocking blunders by the anchor adds to poor planning

Amid utter chaos, the Union Sports Ministry on Thursday honoured the six athletes who won medals in the recently-concluded London Olympics.

Due to its poor planning, the Ministry’s attempt to accord a grand welcome to the medal-winning athletes turned out to be a chaotic affair on the lawns of the National Stadium here.

In the sweltering heat, the ‘organised crowd’, consisting of mostly school children and young participants of the ‘Come And Play’ scheme, struggled to get a glimpse of the six medal winners. The 47 athletes and 17 coaches, who participated in the Olympics, apart from former athletes and officials of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and National Sports Federations (NSFs) were also left to fend for themselves.

As the six Olympic medallists — Sushil Kumar, Vijay Kumar, Gagan Narang, M.C. Mary Kom, Yogeshwar Dutt and Saina Nehwal — arrived on the stage, part of the enthusiastic crowd stood on the chairs to have a good view of the star athletes. The anchor’s repeated requests to maintain decorum fell on deaf ears.

If that was not enough, the anchor reeled off blunders as he introduced the medal winners, who had come with their parents. Announcements like ‘Yogender Dutta’ and ‘Sania Nehwal’ were two classic examples.

Both Narang and Saina were introduced as ‘silver medallists’. Shooter Joydeep Karmakar, who finished fourth in 50m prone, was shocked when he was termed an ‘archer.’

The entire scene resembled a political rally as Sports Minister Ajay Maken lauded the good performance and congratulated the athletes for winning the medals. He said, like OPEX 2012, his Ministry would form an OPEX 2020 in order to help the athletes achieve greater glory in the 2020 Olympics.

“The OPEX 2020 will be launched with a target to achieve 25 medals in the Olympics. As a part of the programme, all athletes would be provided international exposure, foreign coaching and infrastructure,” said Maken.

To meet PM, President

The Minister said the Olympians were scheduled to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi during the day time on Friday before being honoured by Speaker Meira Kumar in the Parliament in the evening.

They will meet President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday.

On behalf of the Government, six youngsters from ‘Come and Play’ scheme honoured the medal winners with cash awards. Sushil and Vijay got Rs. 30 lakh each for bagging the silver medals. The four bronze medallists got Rs. 20 lakh each.

Then the medal winners as well as the members of the Indian contingent to the Olympics were taken to the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate to pay floral tributes to the martyrs.

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