The importance accorded by the Indian Olympic Association to the National Games can be gauged from the fact that within days of announcing fresh dates for the premier domestic event in Ranchi from December 9-22 — they will have to postpone it for the sixth time.
Reason: The dates are clashing with the second Beach Asian Games in Muscat from December 8-16.
IOA president, Suresh Kalmadi, had announced on May 25 that the Games would be held from December 9-22 without bothering to check the international calendar. A source told HT that fresh dates would be announced in a couple of days and “the event is proposed in February”.
“Finalising the Games’ dates is the prerogative of the IOA, but it is shocking and embarrassing for the organisers. This time, the postponement is because of the callousness of the IOA. How can the IOA ignore the international calendar,” said a Jharkhand Olympic Association official.
“The Beach Asian Games is a multi-discipline event where some of the players short-listed for the National Games would be competing. Quite a few officials, who had been assigned duties in the Ranchi Games, would be going for the Beach Games. So, the IOA was left with no choice but to postpone it,” he added.
The Games, originally scheduled in 2007, were postponed twice because of delays in completion of infrastructure. After three more postponements on account of various reasons, they were scheduled for November-December last year. But again they got postponed as the dates clashed with the Assembly elections.
“Earlier also when the Games were postponed in February 2008 due to delays on account of infrastructure, the IOA had come up with fresh dates in June. In June, the climatic conditions were not favourable for hosting sporting events in Ranchi and it led to another postponement,” said a state Olympic official.