Gymnasts in the lurch as SAI, Gymnastics Federation of India feud
A similar stalemate before the World Cups in Baku (March 14-17) and Doha (March 20-23) had resulted in only two gymnasts each getting the nod at the last minute.Updated: May 08, 2019 12:06 IST
Differences between the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI) have left a 10-member Indian team waiting for government clearance for the Asian Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia from June 19-23.
A similar stalemate before the World Cups in Baku (March 14-17) and Doha (March 20-23) had resulted in only two gymnasts each getting the nod at the last minute.
The federation had on April 24 written to SAI to give approval for trials and team selection as the May 17 deadline for sending names of athletes to the tournament organisers was approaching. However, SAI has not replied, leaving GFI in a fix.
“There is no response (from SAI),” says Narinder Mor, the GFI vice-president.
“The event will be good preparation ahead of the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany from October 4. We have apprised the government of the significance of the Asian meet.”
Gymnast Yogeshwar Singh, ranked No 1 in India, says the situation is confusing. “SAI conducted trials for selecting probables for the national camp on April 12-13 but did not release the names of selected gymnasts.
“Now, GFI is planning its own trial-cum-selection for the Asian Championships as it does not recognise the trials conducted by SAI. Don’t know which way things are heading,” says Singh.
The GFI was derecognised by the government in 2012 for not complying with the age and tenure clause in the National Sports Code.
However, it enjoys the recognition of the world gymnastics body (FIG), which has mandated it to select the teams for international tournaments.
Sports secretary, Radhey Shyam Julaniya, says “Some federations do not follow proper procedure, which could be the reason for the delay (in clearance). Teams will be cleared only on merit. We will also take into account the current performance of the players,” he added.
“In case the government doesn’t give the nod, the federation will ask players to shell out ~2 lakh each for the trip. It’s expensive but I will give it a thought as I don’t want to miss the Asian Championships,” says Singh.