Olympic Notes: India's Sochi-Bound Athletes Receive Late Funding Boost
Three Indian athletes "have received late funding" to travel the Sochi Winter Olympics, but two of them "are still waiting for government assistance to purchase equipment needed to compete in Sochi." While luger Shiva Keshavan "raised money for his equipment through sponsors," Alpine skier Himanshu Thakur and cross-country skier Nadeem Iqbal’s participation "remains in doubt barely three weeks before the Games open in Russia." The Sports Ministry "cleared all other costs" on Wednesday and the Winter Games Federation of India Secretary General Roshan Lal Thakur "was optimistic funds for new equipment and clothing would also be freed up soon" (REUTERS, 1/16). ... Senior Italian IOC member Mario Pescante "criticized the United States on Wednesday for including openly gay athletes in its official delegation" for the Sochi Olympics. Pescante: "It's absurd that a country like that sends four lesbians to Russia just to demonstrate that in their country gay rights have (been established). The games should not be an occasion and a stage to promote rights that sports supports daily." The Italian Olympic Committee "would not confirm or deny Pescante's comments, but his speech was reported by the Gazzetta dello Sport and the ANSA news agency" (AP, 1/16). ... Finland Sports and Culture Minister Paavo Arhinmaki "will boycott the opening ceremony" of the Sochi Olympics "due to concerns over Russia's human rights violations" (REUTERS, 1/16). ... Six workers "have fallen from a roof at the bobsleigh venue" to be used in the Sochi Olympics. One of those involved "was reportedly taken away on a stretcher with an injured leg while others sustained minor injuries" (London INDEPENDENT, 1/16).