In a damage control exercise, the Sports Ministry yesterday claimed that the alleged case of aggressive behaviour by one of its unaccredited officials in the Rio Olympic Games was a case of misunderstanding but it has still instructed him to ‘strictly follow’ the rules set by the Organising Committee.

The Indian contingent in Rio has been left embarrassed after the Organising Committee’s Continental Manager Sarah Paterson threatened to cancel the accreditation of Sports Minister Vijay Goel for the ‘aggressive and rude’ behaviour of his entourage in a letter to Chef-de-Mission Rakesh Gupta. However, the Ministry, in a statement issued yesterday, denied receiving any such complaint either from the Rio OC or the IOA.

Attracting ire
“Attention of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports has been drawn towards a letter written by an official of Rio Organising Committee to the Chef-de-Mission of Indian Olympic Association regarding entry of an un-accredited Indian Official accompanying the Minister into some accredited area. One such official usually accompanies the Minister on such visit,” the Ministry stated. “It is clarified that no formal communication has been received by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports either from Rio Organisation Committee or through IOA in this regard,” it added. Insisting that it was a case of misunderstanding caused by the language barrier, the Ministry said it has nonetheless told the official concerned to follow the protocol.

“The Indian Official has been advised to strictly follow the rules of Rio Organising Committee and remove any misunderstanding that might have arisen out of tight security protocol,” the statement read.

The Ministry also sought to clarify that only a three-member delegation has accompanied Goel on the trip.