Mary Kom and Sushil Kumar have resigned. But is there a conflict of interest in active sportspersons being observers?
It’s not just Mary Kom who has quit, now even I have chosen to recuse myself from this government appointment.
But I am fine with this. We are players; at the end of the day, we only want to do what is good for the sport and for the country. If such a thing would happen, if any person were to raise allegations against me, I would not feel okay with that. It’s not like we are taking any extra benefits from the government anyway.
The question of ‘conflict of interest’ while being active sportspersons doesn’t arise, in my opinion. Sportspersons are very straightforward people. When they feel something is right, they’ll speak out; what’s wrong will also be called out. This is how I feel.
Here are other sharp perspectives on sports observers:
Anup Kumar, men’s kabaddi captain
The observer posts are important, and they definitely create an impact. They are important to players’ performance. They act as facilitators in the interactions between the sports federation and the government; it helps if there’s an observer as a go-between.
Sportspersons who have won medals at the Olympics, and have the experience and knowledge, know how to extract the best performance out of other athletes, how to improve performance, and what are the techniques and strategies that can be applied. They’ll interact with the government on issues such as knowing where to conduct camps, where all the kids will perform well, and so on.
As for the question of appointing only retired sportspersons as observers, it is the government’s call to make. Now, it is up to them to appoint people based on the kind of work implementation they have envisioned. Having observers is a good thing, I believe they should exist.
There was no pressure for me to quit; I’m not a man who lives under any pressure. I did so out of my own choice. By the time Mary Kom gave her resignation, I felt before any other issues arise, I should hand mine in too.
Sushil Kumar is a two-time Olympic medal-winning wrestler.