Monday, July 27, 2009

Are You CWG trainee: Mind it No Insurance Cover for You

It finds a prominent mention in the guidelines issued by the central government for preparing the teams for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Yet, a year after training schedules began all over the country; insurance cover for athletes is still being discussed in the upper echelons of the Sports Authority of India.

The Baljit Singh incident might have shaken them up a little but in the aftermath, SAI and government officials haven't actually shown the urgency that was expected of them. "We are in the process of insuring players," a top sports ministry official said. "SAI has been vested with the responsibility and the process should be completed in a month."

The good news is that the government agency has reportedly identified the insurance agencies and worked out the other details but the depressing bit in the entire episode is that it took a long time in deciding how to go about the task.

It may sound too routine, given the Indian approach to sport, to discuss medical insurance or for that matter, the unforeseeable future, but the serious eye injury to Baljit has changed it all, with the spotlight now being on the uncertainty and insecurity that surround an athlete's life.

"The booklet, issued last year, states that the central government would provide funds to SAI to provide insurance cover - including personal accident insurance and hospital expenses - for sportsperson, coaches and support staff in the core group for the Commonwealth Games.

But no headway was made. It's only recently that the team's wing completed the groundwork and sent it to the top bosses where it is awaiting clearance. The proposal has to be sent to the CWG steering committee for its approval.