MP: Ankit chosen for athletic tourney after controversy
The controversy surrounding the omission of long jumper Ankit Sharma from the Asian Athletics Championship in China has been put to rest with the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) including him in the Indian squad bound for the championship.bhopal Updated: May 23, 2015 19:27 IST
The controversy surrounding the omission of long jumper Ankit Sharma from the Asian Athletics Championship in China has been put to rest with the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) including him in the Indian squad bound for the championship.
But, it has retained K Prem Kumar in the squad, who was selected ahead of Sharma without him even attending the AFI training camp.
This will be the first time that two athletes from India will participate in an individual event in the Asian Athletics Championship.
Earlier, the AFI had decided to drop Sharma on the ground of ‘indiscipline’ and had claimed that the long jumper had left the camp organised by AFI at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala, and had joined the Sports Authority of India (SAI)’s camp at Thiruvananthapuram, sources said.
"I have received a call from AFI confirming my selection. The matter stands resolved," Sharma told HT over the phone.
Sharma won the gold medal at the Kerala National Games after his record leap of 8.04 metres and won the Federation Cup, a qualifying round for the championship. K Prem Kumar, who was selected in place of Sharma initially, did not even report at the NIS’s national camp.
Many other Indian athletes also did not attend the Patiala camp, but Sharma was singled out, sources said.
"Sharma is a talented player and was singled out just because of some ego issues. After all, he had joined the other camp only to sharpen his skills. Sports federations often resort to such pressure tactics to show their power," a former athlete told HT on condition of anonymity.
Sharma had attended the NIS camp for 20 days but left after the AFI did not respond to his two emails urging to provide him with a coach.
After Sharma tendered three written apologies to the AFI and the MP Athletics Association took up his cause, the AFI had decided in his favour, sources said.
AFI chief operating officer (COO) Manish Kumar also confirmed the selection.
When asked about the controversy, he said: “Being a record holder athlete, Sharma should have followed the rules. We didn’t ask him to write any apology letter. We just asked him to write a letter that he would not repeat the mistake.
On the question of selecting other athletes who didn’t attend the camp, Kumar said: “We have sought explanation from all the athletes who didn’t attend the camp. Now, the matter has been resolved and Sharma has been included in the team.”
Sources said Sharma had joined the camp at NIS Patiala on March 8 but he didn’t get any coach for preparation till March 22.
He then received information that SAI was organising a training camp at LNCPE Thiruvanthapuram. After requesting for the coach by sending two emails to the AFI, Sharma left the camp on March 27 and started practicing at Thiruvananthapuram.