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300-plus doctors at Games, but not a single sports medicine expert

Medical experts from Sports Authority of India, who are trained to treat athletes, are conspicuously missing from the list of doctors prepared by the Games organising committee and the government.

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Athletes participating in the Commonwealth Games should take extra care to avoid injuries, as of the 325 doctors roped in for the mega event none is a sports medicine expert.

Medical experts from Sports Authority of India (SAI), who are trained to treat athletes, are conspicuously missing from the list of doctors prepared by the Games organising committee (OC) and the Delhi government.

Most of the doctors on the list are from government hospitals in the national capital.

Sources attributed the oversight to an ego clash between Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the ministry of sports. OC draws its power from IOA, while SAI works under the sports ministry.
“OC, which comprises IOA top brass, wants to prove that it can manage things without the services of SAI,” an official on the committee said.

Another OC official, also a sporting federation chief, said, “The ministry never allowed us to bid for the 2019 Asian Games. IOA has already declared itself an autonomous body. Why should we take SAI’s help? We don’t need them at all.”

The animosity arose after sports minister MS Gill tried to restrict the careers of all sports federation bosses to a maximum three terms and put an age cap of 70 years on them.

“This is a sporting event, not a family affair. Sports injuries are bound to crop up. How can they ignore sports medicine experts?” PSM Chandran, president of Indian Federation of Sports Medicine, said, adding that a list of SAI doctors was sent to OC as early as in January.

It is not only SAI doctors who have been ignored. DNA has learnt that OC also kept away sports medicine experts from the army and the railway sports control board.

Ambulances for the venues have also not been finalised. “A private hospital sent sample ambulances to OC. But they sat on the proposal.

Now, they have no alternative but to hire government ambulances, creating a shortage in government hospitals.”

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