The row over uniforms in India’s Winter Olympics contingent has intensified with luger Shiva Keshavan seeking chef-de-mission R K Gupta’s resignation and threatening to open a “can of worms” on his his return.
Lashing out at Gupta, Keshavan said, “India really needs to send more capable people as chef-de-mission or at least give a course on how to behave abroad and how to organise.
“If even after attending three Olympic Games Mr. Gupta feels that he does not understand or cannot handle his job, he should either get a subordinate who can or simply offer his resignation,” the luger told PTI.
Keshavan and his father, here as a coach, appeared in different attire in the opening ceremony, claiming the uniform given to them was of poor quality, a charge Gupta dismissed later.
Four-time Olympian Keshavan’s comments in the local media had prompted the Indian diaspora to collect USD 8,000 to help the contingent but the team refused the money.
“We did get some uniforms from R K Gupta but they were horrible quality bordering on disgraceful,” Keshavan said.
“On top of that, everyone was not given the same uniform and some were given none altogether. That’s the reason we were not wearing same clothes during the ceremony,” he said.
“Some local businessmen offered to sponsor a good opening ceremony uniform for the team and this was accepted by our chef-de-mission. However, when some Canadian media misrepresented the news as charity rather than sponsorship we were unhappy and did not accept the clothes,” Keshavan said.
“Instead of playing down the issue, it turned out into an ego clash. I must also add that rather than fuelling petty speculation in the media for these issues, the officials should concentrate on their job here, which has been much below our modest expectations,” he added.
Criticising Gupta’s role, Keshavan said, “I think it is time that the sports authorities take strict action on who they chose as chef-de-missions and officials representing India.”
Keshavan also threatened to spill the beans on his return to India.
“There would be countless things to specify but now is not the time for that. From facilities not provided to the people staying at the village in the guise of officials. I will be happy to give all my views and open this can of worms once I return,” he said.