A day after the deputy director of Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex sent termination notices to sports academies housed in the Balewadi facility, Maharashtra sports minister Padmakar Valvi condemned the move. What’s more, he has promised to resolve the issue at the earliest.
“I feel it was not the right thing to do. We should respect our Olympians (Gagan Narang and Nikhil Kanetkar) and support them morally as well as logistically. It is very unfortunate that the academies were sent (termination) letters. I want to say that we, at the ministry, respect our sportspersons and their academies,” Valvi told DNA on Friday.
The Balewadi complex houses four academies. They are run by Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association, ace shooter Gagan Narang (Gun For Glory), Nikhil Kanetkar (badminton) and Bhushan Thakur (table tennis). The contracts, which expired in April 2012, were never renewed.
“I have spoken to the secretary of sports and have asked him to draft a fresh proposal for the academies. I have directed the department to make a five-year-contract for the academies and the most important thing is that there will be no fee hike. The new contract will be based on the existing fee structure,” Valvi promised.
Former shuttler Kanetkar said he was shocked to receive the termination letter. “We were expecting a five-year-contract. So we couldn’t believe our eyes when we got the termination letter. It is an insult to Gagan, me and the others. We work hard to train these budding players,” the Olympian said. “Whoever took this decision was actually trying to destroy the aspirations of our trainees. Who knows, they could go on and become successful like Gagan and Saina Nehwal,” he added.
Pawan Singh, director, Gun For Glory, echoed Kanetkar’s Nikhil’s views. “I was hurt and shocked. Moreover, we always abide by the rules and regulations stated in the contract, so I don’t know what prompted them to send us the notice,” said Singh, before adding that he’d written to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan seeking intervention.