The Indian Olympic Association Tuesday said it was not intimidated by World Archery’s threats to suspend Archery Association of India and insisted that AAI elections would be held on June 9 as per schedule. The World Archery has warned the AAI of “immediate suspension” if the two factions go ahead with two separate elections in New Delhi and Chandigarh on June 9.
Any suspension would mean that the Indian team for the next week’s World Championships may only be able to compete under a World Archery flag and not the national flag. The WA also had stepped in to resolve the long-standing fight by the two factions by appointing a “mediator” and proposed a common election on June 24.
But IOA president Narinder Batra has shot off a mail to the rival groups — Sunil Sharma and Maha Singh — firmly stating that an IOA observer will attend the elections being held in New Delhi on June 9.
“IOA respects the law of the land and the Olympic movement and will not be intimidated by the threats by World Archery for athlete’s participation and de-recognition of NSF,” Batra stated in his mail, a copy of which is in possession with PTI.
“Without prejudice, IOA will protect and defend all the rights of its athletes and if any damages are suffered by any Indian athlete the World Archery will be liable for all the consequences,” he wrote in the mail, with copies to WA secretary general Tom Dielen, sports minister Kiren Rijiju and all the affiliated AAI units.
Accusing World Archery of bias, Batra further wrote: “IOA is feeling that World Archery is ill informed/misinformed about the facts. This attitude shows bias in the mind of World body to support one of the two factions, but we in IOA have decided to strictly go by merits.
“We sincerely hope that better sense prevails in the mind of World body… Once Again the IOA observer will go for the elections being held in Delhi on June 9 unless the Committee of Administrators informs IOA otherwise.”
In a bizarre scenario, AAI’s two factions of acting president Sunil Sharma and secretary Maha Singh have issued two notices to hold elections on June 9, albeit in two different cities of New Delhi and Chandigarh. Sharma is believed to be from the group led by former AAI president Vijay Kumar Malhotra, while Singh is perceived to be close to the last chief BVP Rao who is also seeking re-election.
Former Jharkhand chief minister and newly-inducted minister in the Narendra Modi Cabinet, Arjun Munda is in the fray for the post of president in the elections to be held in New Delhi. Now it remains to be seen if the Rao-led group too go ahead with the elections in Chandigarh on June 9.
Hitting out at Batra for the disregard shown to World Archery, Rao said: “I’m sad to read Mr Batra’s letter. With Olympics being one year away, it seems as the president of IOA he (Batra) does not have any interest in the welfare of Indian archers.
“He does not bother if India gets suspended. He is only concerned for the elections of Malhotra’s candidates. Our group will meet on June 7 to decide whether we too would go ahead for the elections on June 9,” Rao said.