The Delhi High Court on Friday postponed the hearing on the dual elections conducted by two warring factions of the Archery Association of India (AAI) by a week. The postponement has left the national federation at the mercy of World Archery.
Hearing a PIL in the Rahul Mehra versus Union of India & Ors, a Delhi HC Special Bench comprising Justice S Murlidhar and Najmi Waziri on July 27 had fixed the matter for arguments on August 2.
The world body, which had given a July 31 deadline to sort out the mess of AAI, is currently closed because of the Swiss National Day and a decision on suspension may be expected on Monday.
“Office is closed so a decision will be made Monday or after that,” a World Archery official told PTI from Lausanne.
A response is awaited from the World Archery, which had earlier de-listed AAI as a member and threatened to suspend and not allow Indian archers to compete in international competitions if the court does not give an order by July 31.
A suspension would mean that the Indian archers might not be able to represent the country at the Asian Championships in Bangkok in November, which is also a continental qualification tournament for 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
With less than a year to go for the Olympics, the fancied Indian women’s team is yet to book a quota place for the Tokyo Games, while the men have secured qualification at the World Championships in Netherlands last month.
There is more bad news for the Indian archers as the Sports Authority of India has notified the selection trials for the Asian Championships at a short notice. It is to be held in Sonepat from August 7-11.
“We were intimated with less than a week to go before the trials. Many of us have written to the SAI to postpone it,” a senior Indian archer told PTI.
“Olympics is less than a year to go and there’s absolutely no planning. How will they expect us to get a medal? We don’t have a coach. To add to that, there is the suspension threat. With so much going on, we are not able to focus properly,” the archer rued.
The AAI body led by Union minister Arjun Munda has also shot off a letter to SAI to postpone the trials.
“It has given me immense astonishment and disappointment to know that the Open trials are being organized by SAI with just eight days notice. It is a matter of grave concern,” Munda wrote in a letter to SAI secretary-general, a copy of which is accessed by PTI.
“I hope you will take note of my apprehension seriously and act accordingly in the interest of Indian archery,” he added.