The centrally positioned Delhi government-run Thyagraj Stadium, which was built for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, is a multi-discipline facility that draws national and state athletes, and footballers. Athletes and coaches have been grumbling in recent months about being pushed to finish training earlier than normal, by 7 p.m.
The reason, as per the report, is that Sanjeev Khirwar, Delhi’s Principal Secretary (Revenue), walks his dog at the facility around half an hour later.
A coach commented,
We used to train till 8-8.30 pm under lights earlier. But now, we are asked to leave the ground by 7 pm so that the officer can walk his dog on the ground. Our training and practice routine has been disrupted.
People on social media have expressed their outrage, calling this a gross misuse of power.
Dear IAS/IPS officers on twitter- आपके यहाँ इसको क्या कहते हैं? हमारे यहाँ इसको भौकाल कहते हैं…. pic.twitter.com/xyaCM9n5lj— Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) May 26, 2022
Unbelievable. For the last few months, athletes, coaches at Delhi’s Thyagraj Stadium have complained about being forced to wrap up training earlier than usual. Reason: Delhi’s Principal Secretary Sanjeev Khirwar needs the stadium to walk his dog, reports @AndrewAmsan. pic.twitter.com/Q97oOpTUtr— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) May 26, 2022
This is an example of one of the most trivial administrative apathy that an Athlete in India has to go through. This is not even the tip of the iceberg .— Sadaf Sayeed 🇮🇳 (@Sadafsayeed) May 26, 2022
Then we complain why don’t Indian athletes win medals for us. https://t.co/JTxpn2xz3N
Disgusting but not surprising.— Sankrant Sanu सानु संक्रान्त ਸੰਕ੍ਰਾਂਤ ਸਾਨੁ (@sankrant) May 26, 2022
The IAS consider themselves the replacement of the White rulers of India. https://t.co/G6orUHr9F3
Want to know who ‘real’ entitled Lutyens elite is? This standout story highlights how netas come and go, all powerful ‘babus’ remain forever, in Delhi or any state capital. (One officer even threatened to take over a pvt club ground after denied permanent club membership!) 🙏 pic.twitter.com/QGEiVi7Hof— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) May 26, 2022
Nonetheless, Rajdeep Sadesai recently updated by tweeting that the government has taken actions based on The Indian Express report.
Breaking now: Delhi govt acts on @IndianExpress report: orders stadium to remain open till 10 pm for athletes. Unclear what happens to the officer. Well done @AndrewAmsan for truth to power story ! 👍 https://t.co/QpYp8JJpeE— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) May 26, 2022
Although no action has been taken against the officer, the fact that the athletes’ training time has been extended demonstrates the power of journalism.