The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) will have to return the amount spent on the airfare and travel of the 18 athletes who were found overage at the Nanjing Asian Youth Games,the Sports Authority of India (SAI) director general Jiji Thomson said.
The AFI has received an amount of Rs 6 crore for the current financial year towards training of athletes and their participation,including at international meets. I will seek an explanation from the AFI as to how they overlooked the age criteria for participation in this event and unless they have a satisfactory answer SAI will recover the money spent on the travel of the athletes who were overaged. That amount is approximately Rs 10 lakh, SAI director general Jiji Thomson said.
Only athletes born in January 1997 or later were eligible to participate in the second edition of the Asian Youth Games but the Indian squad comprised 18 who were born in 1996,including upcoming sprinter Dutee Chand.
It is the responsibility of the AFI to register their athletes,check their participation eligibility and apply for accreditation. In this case they seem to have overlooked the age-limit. The SAI is only responsible for their to-and-fro travel, Thomson said.
The SAI director general also said that since the Indian Olympic Association was banned,federations were directly dealing with organising committees across disciplines and hence would not have had full knowledge of the rules. Since federations are now directly in touch with tournament and event organisers they need to give greater attention to detail with regard to eligibility,rules and regulations, he said .
The sports ministry said in a statement that it had directed the SAI director general to inquire into the matter and ensure such embarrassing situations don’t happen in the future.