It’s a bad time for Vijay Goel. India’s sports minister has become the face of Rio but not in a way he probably wanted. Earlier on, he was in the news for his ‘unruly’ entourage who reportedly entered areas without proper accreditation, a fiasco that was reportedly caused due to ‘language barrier’.
In a campaign where India still hasn’t won a medal, Goel along with Page 3 personality Shobhaa De have been the major talking points off the field. Now that he’s back from Rio, he’s still managing to grab headlines. Yesterday, as the entire nation cheered on Dipa Karmakar’s historic appearance in the vault finals, Goel managed to goof up by misspelling her name and sharing a picture of himself (instead of Dipa’s).He was at it again today when he wished good luck to Srabani Nanda but attached a photograph of Dutee Chand instead. Now, we know politicians have an inflated sense of self importance which is directly proportional to the size of their billboard hoardings but perhaps it’s time they remember we are watching.Oh and maybe remember that Shiva Thapa’s presence is more important than yours!
India’s chef-de-mission at the ongoing Rio Olympics, Rakesh Gupta, attempted to downplay the controversy surrounding Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel and said that he would respond only after getting all details from the organising committee. Gupta told ANI that none of the incidents took place when he was with the Sports Minister and expressed surprise as to how this story cooked up.
‘When I was with him when there was a match with Argentina at the hockey ground, he (Vijay Goel) told me that he wanted to meet the players and I took the permission for that. I was also there. They allowed us because we got the access. That is the only incident that I know about. None of the incidents took place when I was there with the Minister,’ Gupta told ANI.
‘About other things, I only came to know through press. We have asked the organizing committee to give us the details and only after that, we will respond,’ he added.
Meanwhile, the Sports Minister returned to New Delhi on the wee hours this morning and stated that he would clear the ‘misconceptions’ on the controversy surrounding him with solid facts.
“There are a lot of misconceptions regarding this issue right now which I will clear when the time is right. I will put my side of the story ahead with facts in due time. It’s 2 a.m. right now and I don’t think this is the time to speak on such things,” Goel said on his arrival in New Delhi.
The Rio Olympic Organising Committee, in a scathing letter to the India’s chef-de-mission, had threatened to cancel Goel’s accreditation for being ‘aggressive and rude’ and trying to bring other non-accredited people at the accredited areas of the Games venues.