The news that Cycling Federation of India has been demoted to the list of ‘other sports’, may not have shocked many, as cycling in India was never in news, but it has certainly angered the federation.
CFI general secretary, JS Grewal, said, “We have already complained to the IOA and asked them to take up the matter. It is absurd, because we have not got any support from the ministry.”
India collected three silver medals in different Asian age-group events in 2005, but 2006 was barren. Worse, India lost to Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the SAF Games, and that cost them dear.
“Getting demoted means there will be no foreign exposure trips at government cost. But money will be given for the nationals,” a sports ministry official said.
Meanwhile, the news has also shocked the swimming fraternity.
“To my knowledge, we had been doing much better in swimming than we had been doing in the past. Both Arjun (Muralidharan) and I won medals at the Asian Indoor championships in late 2005.
“We also qualified for the semifinals at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. So this news has shocked us,” said ace swimmer Shikha Tandon.
Football slumps further
While FIFA hails India as a ‘sleeping giant’ in football despite its low world ranking, the government thinks otherwise, shunting football to the others category. AIFF officials claim the government was not helping too much, so it doesn’t really affect them. But at a time when Indian clubs are finally going professional and the Vision Asia pilot project has been launched here, the downgrading of football doesn’t augur well.