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What he said:
“It’s time we got real. The concept of honorary posts is rubbish.”
Abhinav Bindra is no proponent of the status quo when it comes to Indian sports and its administrative bodies.
India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist continues his tirade against the satraps plaguing the system in an article in the Hindustan Times, applauding Ajay Maken’s National Sports Federation (NSF) bill seeking accountability and transparency in the running of sports bodies.
Bindra devoted a whole chapter in his autobiography, A Shot at History: My Obsessive Journey to Olympic Gold, to his experiences with Indian bureaucracy.
A sample from the Deccan Chronicle:
"The tone is patronising, the manner feudal, the atmosphere unwelcoming. I am their job, but I feel like their burden. These are bookkeepers, who look like they feel a physical pain in parting with money that is not really theirs, who have little understanding of sports yet will interrogate you suspiciously...It is humiliating, it is tiring."
"Running sports is not a joke and instilling professionalism and passion is what we should be striving for. After all, the ultimate aim is to win medals at the highest level. Keeping aside personal glory, my Olympic gold is embarrassing when I look at the country’s history of participation in the Olympics!"
Bindra is all for the provision seeking to limit tenure in administrative posts.
“At age 70, priorities change. It is a stage in life when one likes to play with grandchildren rather than worry about athletes’ tickets and visa problems. Fair enough, but stop meddling in everything.”
What he really meant:
“There is no free lunch. It’s administrators who enjoy perks of office while they would have sports persons and the public believe that they are doing them and the country a favour by providing their services gratis. It’s just lunch money—from taxpayers.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Gold medals for our officials too when we win. How about that? Do I hear an 'aye?'”