This Article is From Aug 17, 2016

Haryana Minister Anil Vij Is In Rio, Wants to 'Stand With Players'

Haryana Minister Anil Vij Is In Rio, Wants to 'Stand With Players'

Haryana minister Anil Vij addressing an Independence Day event organised in Rio

Chandigarh: Haryana Minister Anil Vij is the latest to join the non-playing contingent of Indians at the Rio Olympics. "I want to stand by our players and see what problems they are facing," Mr Vij, 63, told reporters at the Brazilian capital, where he landed on Sunday.

Before leaving, the minister had tweeted that he is "leading a contingent to Olympics to encourage the Haryana players".

In videos, the minister is seen addressing a group of Indians during an Independence Day celebration organised in Rio.

"It is a very auspicious day for India. Our players are doing a great job to take the name of our nation to the top. Many achievements we have achieved and we are going to achieve many more achievements," Mr Vij tells a group in which hardly any players are spotted. He is flanked by bureaucrat KK Khandelwal and lawmaker Randhir Singh.

Asked by a reporter what he was at Rio for, the minister replied: "I am here to see what problems our players are facing and how we can overcome them."

Mr Vij's trip as part of an eight-member delegation will cost Haryana one crore rupees, according to reports.

The minister had cancelled his Rio visit in July because of the assembly session. Soon after the session was postponed, Mr Vij left for Brazil.

The antics of other politicians including Sports Minister Vijay Goel in Rio have provoked sharp criticism. Mr Goel was last week admonished by the International Olympic Committee for violating rules during the Games and entering areas which are off limits for non-participants.

Over 40 officials are in Rio as guests of the Indian Olympic Association, a government body.

Haryana politician Abhay Chautala, the corruption-accused former president of the association, was also spotted at the athletes' village posing with prominent members of the Indian contingent, flaunting an all-area access pass.