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In a slugfest that could be embarrassing for the nation, Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi traded high-decibel verbal volleys on Saturday about the scam-tainted Pune MP’s sojourn to the London Olympics.The minister maintained that “someone charge-sheeted on corruption charges should not got for the Olympics,” Kalmadi insisted that no charge had been proven against him.But Maken held his ground. “I think it is inappropriate for me to comment on someone who is facing corruption charges in a court of law and has been suspended by the Congress party,” Maken said in a telecom with Mail Today. Special CBI judge Talwant Singh had on Friday allowed Kalmadi to visit London for the Olympics as a council member of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).Asked how Kalmadi’s presence would harm the Indian contingent in London, Maken said emphatically: “I am convinced that the presence of Kalmadi at the London Olympics will not be good for the morale of Indian athletes. After all, we have a strong contingent going this time. It has trained hard and has good chances of winning medals.”Kalmadi countered by saying he could not understand what the fuss was all about. “I honestly feel it’s a needless controversy,”he said from Pune. “I strongly feel this vilification campaign by Maken is meant to cause a split between officials and Indian athletes participating in the Olympics.”The battle of egos between Kalmadi and Maken dates back to the latter’s appointment as sports minister last year after financial irregularities during the conduct of the Commonwealth Games came to light.advertisementM. S. Gill’s ouster had paved the way for Maken and at the very start of his tenure, the sports minister made his intentions clear, targeting Kalmadi and his close aides who had been holding top positions in various sports bodies for decades.Six months after being granted bail, Kalmadi resumed his tirade against Maken, who often attracted headlines for his criticism of the top bosses of Indian sports bodies.Maken had claimed he would ensure Kalmadi is not part of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) delegation for the Olympics. A miffed Kalmadi on Saturday said that by making such statements, Maken was infringing on the autonomy of the IOA and called for the sports minister’s removal.”I was quite shocked and dismayed to read Ajay Maken’s reaction to the court’s decision to grant me permission to visit London for the forthcoming Olympic Games,” Kalmadi said. “In view of Maken going against the court decision, which is quite unbecoming of a sports minister, I request our Prime Minister to ask for Maken’s resignation for making such comments and statements.”Besides being an IAAF council member, Kalmadi is also the president of the Asian Athletics Association and claims that he will be in London to attend an IAAF meeting, which coincides with the Olympics. “Maken threatening the IOA that he would try to ensure I was not part of the Indian delegation shows lack of knowledge about the functioning of autonomous sports bodies,” Kalmadi said. “I don’t need any support from the sports ministry,”he added.With pressure mounting after his release on bail, Kalmadi was forced to distance himself from IOA activities with Vijay Kumar Malhotra taking over the reins. The IOA has made it clear he will not be a part of its delegation in London.”Suresh Kalmadi is not a member of the IOA delegation. The Indian contingent was finalised a month back and Mr Kalmadi does not figure in it,” Malhotra, who’s the acting IOA president, said.Malhotra also chose the opportunity to slam Maken and said the sports ministry should have first verified whether Kalmadi was ever included among the IOA delegates.”Kalmadi never asked IOA to make him a part of its delegation,”Malhotra said. “The ministry should have verified the facts from the IOA before writing the letter. The sports ministry’s letter asking the IOA not to provide any assistance or help to Kalmadi holds no ground as he is not going to London as part of the Indian contingent.”News of Kalmadi’s possible presence at the Olympics, meanwhile, met with mixed reactions. Athletics coach Bahadur Singh, whose acolytes were at the podium during the Delhi Commonwealth Games and Guangzhou Asian Games, did not see any reason for the ruckus.Bahadur said Kalmadi’s presence would encourage the Indian athletes and pointed that no charges have been proven so far against him.”Why will athletes be discouraged by Kalmadi’s presence in London?” Bahadur continued. “Rather it will encourage them if he meets them. He has been associated with Indian athletics for the last 15-20 years. He is well known in international athletics as he is an IAAF council member,”he said and added: “He is not guilty till the court gives its verdict.”advertisementShiny Wilson, who won the 800m gold at the 1985 Asian Championships, also backed Kalmadi. “It’s good for Indian sports that he (Kalmadi) is going to London,” Shiny said. “He has done a lot of good for Indian sports, especially athletics. He has helped athletics grow in the country.”The last has not been heard on the verbal duels between Kalmadi and Maken as the minister is also going to be present in London. Sources said the Congress may soon give the party line on the controversy. Till then, the verbal jousting may just continue.
I earned it.Worked every bit for it. pic.twitter.com/sGZRL9GWMu Goldgold medalIndiaindian badminton First Published: August 28, 2019, 1:52 PM IST New Delhi: Manasi Joshi, who was among the three Indian players who won gold at the recently concluded World Para-Badminton Championship, said she earned the medal as she worked really hard for it.The 30-year-old clinched the top honours in the women’s singles SL3 final defeating World No. 1 and compatriot Parul Parmar 21-12, 21-7 to pick her maiden title in Basel, Switzerland on August 25, the very day on which ace shuttler P.V. Sindhu won the gold at the World Championships. “I earned it. Worked every bit for it,” she tweeted on Tuesday. — Manasi Nayana Joshi (@joshimanasi11) August 27, 2019Meanwhile, Twitter was all praise for the 30-year-old, who had lost her left leg in 2011.”In the high of PV Sindhu getting gold in the World Championship, we forgot to win Manasi Joshi, who gold in World Para-Badminton Championship. Here it is wishing her,” Kiran Bedi, Governor of Puducherry tweeted.”Every daughter of India is special. You have increased honour of the country on the world stage. Many congratulations to you for winning gold at the Para-Badminton World Championship,” tweeted former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.”Everyone should learn from you how to overcome the difficulties and achieve success. Hats off to your courage. The country is proud of you!” he added.Manasi was among the 12 Indian athletes who won medals at the competition.Prime Minister Narendra Modi also congratulated the 12 para-badminton players who brought laurels to the country. “130 crore Indians are extremely proud of the Indian Para-Badminton contingent, which has brought home 12 medals at BWF World Championship 2019.”Congratulations to the entire team, whose success is extremely gladdening and motivating. Each of these players is remarkable!”An engineer by qualification, Manasi completed her graduation in Electronics Engineering from K. J. Somaiya College of Engineering, University of Mumbai in 2010. In 2011, she met with a road accident and lost her left leg. However, that did not stop her from playing badminton and she went on to win many medals for India.In September 2015, she won silver in mixed doubles at the Para-Badminton World Championship held in Stoke Mandeville, England. In October 2018, Manasi won a bronze medal at the Asian Para Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia. Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time.