Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has spoken about ‘cutting bureaucratic procedures’ after javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and his German coach Uwe Hohn complained of receiving poor assistance from the Sports Authority of India.

Earlier, Hohn had spoken about not receiving enough javelins or recovery machines for his trainees. “I contacted 2 javelin companies and sent my list of equipment to an office in Patiala. But when the company didn’t receive any order, I checked last week and found out that this guy hadn’t even opened the mail I sent to him. That’s the way SAI is working!” he had written in a mail to the Indian Express.

Neeraj Chopra had also spoken about the delays in equipment delivery and the clearance for his training trip with Hohn. “Our plan to go abroad for training has been getting delayed. That’s one of the reasons why the coach made those comments. We hope that will be done quickly,” he had told ANI.

Rathore in an interview with the Indian Express said, “I was asking everyone and finding out what happened. They have their version but I want to put that aside. We are cutting the bureaucratic procedures. I will be taking certain issues to the Cabinet to empower the Sports Authority of India to hire the best people. We want to expedite processes and get the best expertise to support these sportspersons.”

Rathore also spoke about handling the minute details of athlete management, “This requires a collaborated effort in terms of planning with the athletics federation. The funding of coaches comes from us, the funding of travel comes from us, but for utilisation of coaches, how many athletes they will train, the various travel coordination, how many days and where they will train… those micro nitty-gritty aspects have to be left to the federations. So we are in the pursuance of a perfect model, we are on to it and we are hopeful,” he said.

The Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwala spoke about the federation having no problems with the functioning of SAI. Sumariwala said, “The AFI is happy with the support of the Sports Ministry and the Sports Authority of India over the years. However, when it comes to procurement and processes, we wish that it happened faster.”

The Sports Minister was also re-assuring on the demand for extra support staff, “The Sports Authority of India has already issued instructions for immediate procurement and cutting down on the procedure of procuring competition javelins and training javelins. They already have some but wanted more, which will be immediately procured. We will support whatever the federation decides. Even in terms of sports science support — be it masseurs, physiotherapist and everything else — we have been getting them from India and abroad, the best ones.”