Ashwini Nachappa wants Rahul Gandhi's idea to be implemented

PTI Posted online: Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 0000 hrs
New Delhi : Former sprinter Ashwini Nachappa today welcomed Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi's call to keep politicians out of sports bodies and said time has come for the sportspersons to assume leadership positions to take Indian sports forward.

"I whole-heartedly support Rahul's view on politicians being kept out of sports bodies. It should be implemented and only sporstpersons should run sports bodies. Politicians are not qualified to run sports bodies. They can be just figureheads but should not run sports bodies," Nachappa, who was present when Rahul Gandhi made the comments at the launch of 'National Youth Policy 2014' and 'Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan' programme here, told PTI.

"The politicians should concentrate on working for the betterment of people of their constituencies. We need professionals and those interested in sports and who knows how to run sports bodies. Only then Indian sports can move forward," said Nachappa who is also the head of Clean Sports India, a movement for a corruption-free sports in the country.

"Now that a person of the stature of Rahul Gandhi has said this, I hope there would be some impact on this," said the former sprinter.

Former 'Sprint Queen' P T Usha agreed that politicians should now leave sports bodies to sportspersons.

"We have seen several politicians at the helm of affairs of various sports bodies in the country and there has not been much improvement in the standard of sports in the country. I feel time has come for sportspersons to manage the sports bodies themselves," Usha said.

"Only sportspersons know the difficulties faced by their fellow sportspersons. They have faced the problems themselves and they know how to deal with them. I welcomed what Rahul Gandhi has said. It could be difficult to dislodge politicians from sports bodies but I support Rahul's views," she said.

London Olympics silver medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar, however, does not see any problem in politicians running sports bodies if he knows the sport and committed to it.

"I don't think it (politicians running sports bodies) is a problem. If they (politicians) are totally committed towards sports then I don't see any problem in their involvement," he said.

"I am fine with politicians heading sports bodies if he knows the sports and has played it," he added.

Former Indian football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia also does not have issues with a politician heading a sports body but said qualified professionals should work under him.

"I have no issues with a politician at the head of a sports body but he should have a team of qualified professionals working under him. What matters is whether a sports body is being run professionally or not," Bhutia said.

"In India sports need the involvement of big corporate houses. Even now, corporate houses just think involvement in sports as a part of their corporate social responsibility. In this situation, you may need influential politicians to bring investment in sports from corporate houses," said Bhutia.