Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 5
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has constituted a five-member medical panel to keep a check on athletes who are either injured or undergoing rehabilitation.
The panel, which was constituted today, will only be tasked with looking at medical reports of those athletes who have been included in Target Olympics Podium Scheme (TOPS), the Sports Ministry’s flagship scheme to provide assistance to India’s elite athletes.
Hockey India’s high performance director David John, Dr Amol Patil, who is attached with the Boxing Federation of India, SAI’s senior sports scientist Dr Pralay Majumdar and Dr Srikanth Iyenger are part of the panel. All TOPS athletes will have to send their reports to this panel if they suffer an injury. The formation of this panel has been in the works ever since young quartermiler Hima Das was ruled out of the Doha World Championships due to a back injury in September.
The extent of Hima’s injury was kept hidden from everyone, including SAI officials. The 19-year-old had been troubled by back injuries since the 2018 Asian Games. She pulled out midway through the 400m individual heats during the Doha Asian Championships in April this year due to this reason. India’s deputy chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair had then said that she was suffering from a lower-back spasm.
Despite the injury, Hima was part of the team that spent months July onward in Europe, training and competing in sub-par IAAF events, where only once did she compete in a 400m race.
Hima’s wasn’t the only case that forced the SAI officials’ hand. Rajiv Arokia, who also travelled to Europe for training, was the second athlete to pull out due to injury despite not participating in any of the competitions in Europe. Similarly, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna winner and ace gymnast Dipa Karmakar’s prolonged time out of sport had become a talking point. Dipa was operated on her knee after her Rio Olympics high, where she finished fourth in women’s vault. Dipa, 26, has not been her old self after the operation and doubts have been raised, most recently by SAI’s former sports science expert Dr PSM Chandran, whether she underwent a proper rehabilitation process.
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