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Cash-starved Sports Authority of India lowers medal expectations for Commonwealth Games

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 - 5:16pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Faced with a severe fund crunch and no immediate government help in sight due to ongoing general election, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has scaled down its medals target for the Commonwealth Games this year.

"The funds that have been given to SAI in the interim budget are woefully inadequate considering it is a CWG and Asian Games year. All the sports federations are unanimously asking for more money for athletes' training and exposure trips and there is nothing you can do about it until we have the next government," SAI Director General Jiji Thomson said.

Out of the Rs.1219 crore earmarked for sports, Rs.165 crore have been kept aside for the National Sports Federations for looking after their athletes. Rs.160 crore was given to NSFs for the previous financial year.
The figures suggest a stark change in government approach towards the Glasgow Games (July 23-August 3) and the Asian Games (September 19-October 4) in Incheon.

A whopping Rs 678 crore were allocated for preparations before India hosted the the 2010 CWG in Delhi.

"Though the money we have should be enough for athletes' preparations for the two big events, more funds at this point of time would have been more than welcome. All NSFs want to send their players overseas for training but we don't have money for all of them. I expect the next government to announce a reasonable hike and I hope it is not too late by the time it happens," said Thomson.

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