indian sport

IOA appoints ad-hoc committee to restructure suspended Winter Games Federation of India

Six-time Olympian Shiva Keshavan will be a part of the five-member committee picked by the Indian Olympic Association.

The Indian Olympic Association has appointed a five-member ad-hoc committee to restructure the Winter Games Federation of India, which it had suspended last year over discrepancies while conducting elections.

The committee includes six-time Olympian and luge pilot Shiva Keshavan and the secretary general of the Winter Games Federation, Roshan Lal Thakur. The committee will be chaired by Lt General Harpal Singh, who is a director general of military training in the Indian Army. IAS officer Rakesh Sharma will be the convenor, while SM Bali, who is the CEO of the Handball Federation of India, is the fifth member.

Confirming the appointment of the committee, Keshavan told The Field that the aim was to streamline everything and put certain rules and regulations in place with respect to governance, which would conform to international guidelines.

“The Winter Games Federation of India was an umbrella body for winter games but it didn’t really govern all winter games,” Keshavan said. “Nor is there such an umbrella body at the world level. There have been complaints of mismanagement and deserving candidates not being sent for training and competition. Things such as team selection for international competitions and the conduction of national championships would also be looked into.”

Keshavan added that the WGFI would cease to exist in its current form and could become the governing body for just skiing in India, as most of its focus so far has been on that sport. The IOA has asked the committee to figure out how the federation has been functioning until now and take a stock of what the various stakeholders, such as the Indian Army and certain sports clubs that are involved in winter sports, have to say.

“One thing which has to be clear is that it should open the way for all the winter games federations in India – there shouldn’t be conflict,” Keshavan said. “Once that is established, we can push for things like government affiliation and things like that. What I would want to see is long-term planning. We are in touch and a few dates for the meeting have been floated.”

Thakur, whose daughter Aanchal recently became the first Indian to win an international medal in skiing, however said that the WGFI could still come back into the IOA’s fray. “The fact that this ad-hoc committee has been appointed shows that the federation’s ban could be revoked once the concerns over the elections are resolved,” he said.

Will it make a difference?

Cross-country skier Nadeem Iqbal, who represented India at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and coached Jagdish Singh at Pyeongchang 2018, however wasn’t very optimistic with the appointment of this ad-hoc committee. “I don’t think this committee will make much of a difference to the way winter sports is governed in this country,” he said.

According to Nadeem, the Indian Army representative in the committee, Lt General Harpal Singh, has no idea about winter sports. Instead of him, Nadeem believes the IOA should have picked Major General Atul Kaushik, who is a commandant at the High-Altitude Army Warfare School in Gulmarg, which is the base for the Indian Army’s winter sports operations. Nadeem and Jagdish both have trained at the school.

Nadeem also alleged that Thakur, as WGFI secretary general, had only ensured that his own children Aanchal and Himanshu Thakur – who represented India at Sochi 2014 – received proper training and participated in international competitions. “After a lot of pleading we managed to convince the federation to send Jagdish for an international competition in December, through which he secured qualification for the Pyeongchang Games,” he said. “I myself stopped competing and took to coaching because the federation did not send me anywhere for training.”

Responding to the allegations, Thakur said that the High-Altitude Army Warfare School was in charge of training Nadeem and Jagdish, adding that it was only because of the federation that both athletes had represented India at the Olympics.

The Field tried contacting IOA secretary general and official spokesperson Rajeev Mehta regarding the appointment of the committee and the selection of its members but received no response. This story shall be updated if and when the IOA responds.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Bringing the glamour back to flying while keeping it affordable

The pleasure of air travel is back, courtesy of an airline in India.

Before dinner, fashionable women would retire to the powder room and suited-up men would indulge in hors d’oeuvres, surrounded by plush upholstery. A gourmet meal would soon follow, served in fine tableware. Flying, back in the day, was like an upscale party 35,000 feet up in the air.

The glamour of flying has been chronicled in Keith Lovegrove’s book titled ‘Airline: Style at 30,000 feet’. In his book, Lovegrove talks about how the mid-50s and 60s were a “fabulously glamorous time to fly in commercial airlines”. Back then, flying was reserved for the privileged and the luxuries played an important role in making travelling by air an exclusive experience.

Fast forward to the present day, where flying has become just another mode of transportation. In Mumbai, every 65 seconds an aircraft lands or takes off at the airport. The condition of today’s air travel is a cumulative result of the growth in the volume of fliers, the accessibility of buying an air ticket and the number of airlines in the industry/market.

Having relegated the romance of flying to the past, air travel today is close to hectic and borderline chaotic thanks to busy airports, packed flights with no leg room and unsatisfactory meals. With the skies dominated by frequent fliers and the experience having turned merely transactional and mundane, is it time to bid goodbye to whatever’s enjoyable in air travel?

With increased resources and better technology, one airline is proving that flying in today’s scenario can be a refreshing, enjoyable and affordable experience at the same time. Vistara offers India’s first and only experience of a three-cabin configuration. At a nominal premium, Vistara’s Premium Economy is also redefining the experience of flying with a host of features such as an exclusive cabin, 20% extra legroom, 4.5-inch recline, dedicated check-in counter and baggage delivery on priority. The best in class inflight dining offers a range of regional dishes, while also incorporating global culinary trends. Other industry-first features include Starbucks coffee on board and special assistance to solo women travellers, including preferred seating.

Vistara’s attempts to reduce the gap between affordability and luxury can also be experienced in the economy class with an above average seat pitch, complimentary selection of food and beverages and a choice of leading newspapers and publications along with an inflight magazine. Hospitality aboard Vistara is, moreover, reminiscent of Singapore Airlines’ famed service with a seal of Tata’s trust, thanks to its cabin crew trained to similarly high standards.

The era of style aboard a ‘flying boat’ seems long gone. However, airlines like Vistara are bringing back the allure of air travel. Continuing their campaign with Deepika Padukone as brand ambassador, the new video delivers a bolder and a more confident version of the same message - making flying feel new again. Watch the new Vistara video below. For your next trip, rekindle the joy of flying and book your tickets here.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Vistara and not by the Scroll editorial team.