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Sports ministry releases partial funds for Sochi Games | The Indian Express

Related. After a long delay, the sports ministry has finally released the funds, albeit partially, sought by Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) for sending the three-member contingent for the upcoming Sochi Olympics. However, it is yet to approve funds for the purchase of equipment of two Indian skiers, Himanshu Thakur and Nadeem Iqbal. Shiva Keshavan (in luge), Thakur (in alpine skiing) and Iqbal (cross country skiing) have been cleared by the government for the Winter Games, which will be held from February 7 to 23, after a meeting chaired by sports minister Jitendra Singh. The ministry decided to provide the funds for air travel, out of pocket allowance, for sports kit including ceremonial dress, and boarding and lodging in case it is not provided free in the Games Village in Sochi. The government, it is learnt, has also found WGFI’s budget estimate of Rs 45 lakh a bit over the top, which is seen as another reason for the delay. The federation is particularly worried about purchasing new equipment for the skiers, according to the federation’s president SS Patwal. “A new ski is developed every year and so the Olympic authorities set different specifications every time,” Patwal said. “We don’t get the equipment here and so we have to order it from Europe,” he added. The government, meanwhile, was miffed that the federation did not stick to the regulations to procure funds. According to the ministry norms, a federation has to send a request to release funds at least 90 days before the commencement of the tournament. WGFI secretary Roshan Lal Thakur contested the ministry’s claims, saying they first approached them on October 7 last year. “We sent them the message on October 7 to inform them that our athletes will be featuring in qualifying rounds and that we needed about Rs 23 lakh to finance their attempts.”
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