Chennai: Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) has started its demolition job. It has relieved S.Dakshinamoorthy, putting an end to the volleyball coach’s productive 18-year deputation in the state.
When the SDAT wrote to Sports Authority of India (SAI) last month to take back its 11 coaches serving in Tamil Nadu including Dakshina, many sports lovers in the state had been hoping that the illogical and ill-conceived decision wouldn’t come into force.
But better sense didn’t ultimately prevail as the SDAT has swung into action. The SDAT is determined to see the back of the SAI coaches.
Dakshina has fallen to SDAT’s axe. What is his crime? Ever since Dakshina took charge of SDAT’s volleyball Hostel of Excellence in 1995, he put his heart and soul into the job of polishing raw players into finished products.
Scores of players from Dakshina’s stable have turned out for India besides getting government jobs.
Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa gave shape to the Hostel of Excellence in 1995 during her first tenure. Under Dakshina's guidance, the volleyball hostel has become the envy of India, leave alone other hostels in Tamil Nadu. Coaching, as experts would know, is never easy. If SDAT's Hostel of Excellence is able to compete with the likes of Indian Bank, ICF, IOB and Customs, major credit should go to Dakshina's dedication and hard work.
What is more shocking is the fact that Dakshina has been hounded out of Tamil Nadu unceremoniously. By locking his room at the Nehru Stadium, the SDAT has humiliated him. Is this the way a committed coach should be treated? The SDAT should at least have shown a modicum of respect to the person who gave his all to volleyball and Tamil Nadu.
By acting with undue haste, the body set up to develop sport in Tamil Nadu has done an irreparable damage to the state’s image. There is grief in what had been a happy volleyball family. The dreams of around 30 youngsters in SDAT’s volleyball Hostel of Excellences are shattered.
They don’t know what future holds for them. The SDAT has already appointed a coach. Whether he is as good as Dakshina will be known soon.
Offended by the treatment meted out to Dakshina, some of his old students are reported to have put up posters to condemn a couple of officials of the SDAT.
This paper doesn’t condone the posters because they have only helped the SDAT bosses to expedite the process of packing off the SAI coaches. The battle is not about Dakshina alone.
It is a question of logic.
When there is no additional financial burden on Tamil Nadu by having SAI coaches on deputation in the state, why should the posts be surrendered? For a big state like Tamil Nadu, thousands of coaches are needed. More importantly, why should a disciplined coach who has been producing excellent results over the years be unwelcome? All other states have been treating SAI coaches as a bonus. There is no fixed tenure for a SAI coach anywhere in India, except Tamil Nadu. Even in Tamil Nadu some SAI coaches have completed 25 years on deputation before the current dispensation in the SDAT decided to fix a threeyear tenure.
The SDAT has been maintaining that sending back the SAI coaches is a “policy” decision. It is the old game of IAS officers who try to hide behind a jargon.
Policy decisions of a government are not mere mumbo jumbo; they are for the welfare of people. They are not taken to massage the ego of an IAS officer.
Dakshina will get his salary from SAI wherever he is posted in India. The SDAT may think it has won the battle by surrendering
SAI posts but it is certain to lose the war when the dust settles down.
Ms. Jayalalithaa's passion for sports is well documented and she has to step in to stop the chaos unleashed by the SDAT. If the issue comes to the chief minister's attention, there is no doubt that she will cancel the policy decision at once.
Dakshina's `mistakes' 1. Making the SDAT Hostel of Excellence the most fruitful volleyball nursery in the country.
2. Producing more than 25 international players.
3. Helping more than 50 players get jobs with ONGC, Railways, ICF, IOB, LIC, BSNL, Postal, Tamil Nadu Police, Income Tax and Customs.
4. Drilling discipline into his charges during their time at the Hostel of Excellence.
5.Being one of the handful of Level 3 FIVB coaches in India.
6.Ranked No.1 among the SDAT coaches in 2004-05 and 2005-06 7. Receiving the CM's best coach award in 2007 8. Winning multiple interuniversity championships with SRM where SDAT boys are enrolled for graduation.