In yet another embarassing goof-up, three Indian weightlifters were disqualified from the second Youth Asian Games in Nanjing for being overage, adding a new twist to the shocking administrative fiasco which has already seen 24 athletes being barred from participation.
The entries of three weightlifters - Chandrika Tarafdar (Women's 48kg), Jyoti Mal (women's 53kg) and Akshay Bhagwan (Men's 62kg) - have been rejected by the Nanjing Games organisers due to overage issue. All the three were 1996 born weightlifters.
The new developments comes barely a couple of days after 18 track and field athletes were earlier disqualified from the Games due to overage issue, prompting the sports ministry to launch an inquiry into the incident.
It is learnt that participants in athletics and weightlifting should be born on or after January 1, 1997, though in other remaining disciplines, the sportspersons who are more than 17 years of age can also take part.
A senior official of Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) told PTI that the entries of three weightlifters have been rejected but reasons are yet to be known.
"We have come to know that entries of three weightlifters have been rejected by the local organising committee. We are yet to know the reason," an official said on condition of anonymity.
Indians are participating in this multi-sporting event as independent Olympic athletes because the Indian Olympic Association is serving a ban imposed by the International Olympic Committee.
The Indians are the only athletes, other than the one from Myanmar, who have been been disqualified for overage issue.
A top IWF official said that in the earlier edition of the Asian Youth Championship in Singapore in 2009, India had sent only Under-17 weightlifters.
"In weightlifting, its always understood that the participants will be 16 years and above. It cannot be 17 years or above in the year of the competition. The criteria might be different in other disciplines, but this is the criteria in weightlifting. That was also the case in 2009 edition in Singapore," the official said.
Interestingly, many of the Indians who are participating in the other disciplines are also born in 1996.
India has sent around 90 athletes, including a few swimmers, golfers, judokas, shooters, squash players and paddlers, who were born in 1996, but they were not disqualified as the criteria is different for their respective disciplines.
Long jumper, Aung Kyaw of Myanmar is the only other athlete, apart from the Indians, to be disqualified from the competition due to overage.
Taking a stern view on the issue of Indian athletes being disqualified from Youth Asian Games, the sports ministry on Monday ordered an inquiry to fix responsibility on the officials for the fiasco which had brought embarrassment to the country.
Sports Authority of India (SAI) director general Jiji Thomson has been asked to probe the case and submit a report to the sports ministry. He will also inquire into the case of four Indian badminton players being thrown out of the Youth Games as their names were not included in the entry list.
The Badminton Association of India (BAI) had claimed that they had sent entries of four Indian shuttlers for the ongoing Youth Asian Games in May and was under the impression that OCA would ensure the players participation by sorting out the issue that aroused because of the suspension of IOA by IOC.