Rio Olympic organisers threaten to ban Sports Minister Vijay Goel for being ‘aggressive and rude’
In what could come as a major embarrassment for the Indian contingent and the government back home, the behaviour of Indian Sports Minister Vijay Goel and his staff has miffed Rio Olympic organisers who have now threatened to ban him and his entourage.
The Olympic organisers have threatened to cancel his accreditation if unaccredited people accompanying him do not end their "aggressive and rude" behaviour.
Goel is here to cheer for the Indian contingent besides monitoring their requirements at the Games Village.
"We have had multiple reports of your Minister for Sports trying to enter accredited areas at venues with unaccredited individuals. When the staff try to explain that this is not allowed, they report that the people with the Minister have become aggressive and rude and sometimes push past our staff," Sarah Peterson, who is Continental Manager for Rio 2016 Organising Committee, said in a letter to Indian Chef-de-Mission Rakesh Gupta.
"As you can understand, this type of behaviour is not acceptable. Despite previous warnings, it would seem that even today the same incident occurred at the Rio Olympic Arena (Gymnastics venue) and Carioca Arena 3," she added.
Peterson said the Minister's accreditation could be cancelled because of this.
"Should our protocol team be made aware of further examples of this type of behaviour, the accreditation of your Minister for Sports will be cancelled and his privileges at the Olympic Games withdrawn. We trust you will pass on this message urgently," she said.
However, Indian officials have dismissed the issue as being disproportionately blown up. One incident that caught attention of the organisers was during Jwala Gutta - Ashwini Ponnappa’s match against Japan when Goel was invited by the team to interact with players.
"The minister was invited by the team to interact with the players. He went down to the field of play inadvertently, not knowing that he needed a field of play special pass. However, the moment it was brought to his notice he left the field and met with the players outside," Rakesh Gupta was quoted by the Times of India as saying.
"On another occasion, he took the special pass and only then met the players. It is unfortunate that a non-issue is being made an issue without any reason," Gupta added.
Goel too has played down the incident saying protocol has been followed and that the reaction by the Rio panel appeared to be a misunderstanding.
(With PTI inputs)