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Indian Games cyclists will be "responsible for damage" to competition bikes

Athletes pressured into signing bonds, they claim

Trust is already a commodity that’s in short supply at the Commonwealth Games, but now it seems that this includes trust between India’s own sporting bodies.

It has emerged that riders due to represent the country at the Delhi games have been required by Sports Authority of India (SAI) officials to sign a bond for their competition bikes - and are now threatening to hand the bikes back. The situation comes on the back of complaints by the Cycling Federation of India (CFI) that their equipment requests have been met with indifference from the SAI.

"We strongly condemn the approach of SAI towards us," CFI president Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa told the Hindustan Times “Despite repeated requests for procuring cycles for the last two years, SAI paid no heed.

"Our players [sic] were provided cycles only ten days back...players who were practising were later asked to deposit the equipments, including cycles, by SAI officials," Dhindsa said.

Dhindsa, who is also the chairman of Commonwealth Games advisory committee, told the paper that the CFI had sought 86 bikes but received only 42, with "incomplete accessories".

India's cycling coach, Kiran Bala, told the Times of India that the riders were indeed asked to sign bonds but claimed that this was routine procedure.

"Yes, they were made to sign bonds but that is just to ensure that they care for these cycles in the same way they care for their personal equipment. It is nothing unusual,” he said.

The riders, however, appear to see things differently and are now threatening to hand the bikes back. They initially refused to sign the bonds, according to the Times of India, but were "pressurised" into signing.

"SAI didn't tell us that we were supposed to sign these bonds while we were being handed those cycles. When we got to know of it, we told them we would not take the cycles if this was the case.

"In case of any damage or if somebody loses his or her cycle then that rider will have to pay for it," a cyclist told India's PTI-Bhasha media organisation on condition of anonymity.

 

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