After the shooting and wrestling federations, it's the turn of the Archery Association of India (AAI) to move a prestigious international event out of the Capital.
The Asian Grand Prix Championships, scheduled at the Yamuna Sports Complex, has been moved to Kolkata as the venue will not be ready for the September 16-19 event.
AAI president Vijay Kumar Malhotra conceded that delay in the completion of the Commonwealth Games venue had forced the AAI to move the event to Kolkata. “Moreover, no grounds were available in Delhi to host the event, so we decided to move it out. We will host another Commonwealth Games preparatory tournament at the venue once it is handed over to us,” he said.
Malhotra also announced the dates for the inaugural tribal archery event and said it would go a long way in broad-basing the sport. A senior AAI official said with the Special Area Games (SAG) becoming defunct, the concept would help harness the tribals' potential. The event, to kick off in Jabalpur next month, will see similar meets being held in Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Delhi.
Malhotra sounded a word of caution that delays in completion of the Commonwealth Games venues would result in Indian athletes losing home advantage. “It's a pity that our teams will not have the home advantage. How do you expect our sportspersons to do well when some of the venues would be handed over to us a month or two before the Games,” he said.
Pointing to the archers' reasonable performance this year, an AAI official said India had earned two quota places (a boy and girl) for the inaugural Olympic Youth Games to be held in Singapore next year. He added that the AAI had asked the Sports Ministry to depute American coach Ginger Hopwood in place of Peter Fenny.
Among the other things the AAI president demanded was increase in the pocket allowance of sportspersons on international assignments and prompt release of advance to foreign-bound teams by the ministry.