By Rohit Mundayur
New Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) Indian badminton national coach Pullela Gopichand was among the notable omissions from the fresh list of members for the All India Council of Sports (AICS) that was announced by the Sports Ministry. But Gopichand said that he had informed the ministry about four months back that he wouldn’t be able to attend the meetings as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics draws closer.
“I had told them that this is the Olympic year and so it’s not possible for me to attend meetings. This was about four months back,” Gopichand told IANS.
Former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, cricket great Sachin Tendulkar and former chess World Champion Viswanathan Anand are the other notable former members who were omitted from the reconstituted committee as the number of members was pruned to 18 from the original 27.
An advisory committee, the AICS was formed in December 2015 during Sarbananda Sonowal’s tenure as Sports Minister. According to the ministry’s notification regarding the same in the Gazette of India, membership of an individual may be terminated if they “do not attend three consecutive meetings of the Council without proper leave of the Chairperson.” The council is supposed to meet at least once in every quarter. It is also stated that a member’s tenure is of three years but sources say there have been cases when it has ended before this period.
Among the new names included are cricketers Harbhajan Singh and Krishnamachari Srikanth alongwith Limba Ram (archery), P.T. Usha (athletics), Bachendri Pal (mountaineering), Deepa Malik (para-athlete), Anjali Bhagwat (shooting), Renedy Singh (football) and Yogeshwar Dutt (wrestling).
VK Malhotra remains president of the council while Wrestling Federation of India president Brijbhushan Sharan Singh and Indian Weightlifting Federation President B P Baishya represent National Sports Federations (NSF).
The 2016 Paralympics medallist Deepa Malik, Asian Games medallist Anjali Bhagwat (shooting) and Padma Shri award winning basketball player Prashanti Singh have been included as ‘Sports Experts’.
Srikanth and Arunima have been listed as ‘Sports Administrators’ while Honappa, Renedy, Yogeshwar, Sumarai Tete (hockey), Sunil Doshi (cricket) and Harbhajan have been listed as ‘Eminent Sportspersons.’
(Rohit Mundayur can be contacted on [email protected])