The Indian Olympic Association on Thursday set up a five-member selection panel to pick the gymnastics team for the upcoming Asian Games while also giving clearance to the men’s squads of football and handball.
The IOA also took the decision not to send India’s equestrian team in the Asian Games after a controversy erupted in the selection of the squad.
In a meeting with the top officials of the IOA here, the Gymnastics Federation of India, which is recognised by the international federation, struck a conciliatory tone, saying that it “wishes to work in positive collaboration for the overall interests of sportspersons”.
The GFI, which is not recognised by the IOA as well as the Sports Ministry, recommended five names to be considered as members of the selection panel and the IOA accepted them.
The five-member selection committee will be headed by IOA Vice-President Sunaina Kumari with other members being Suresh Sharma (Delhi Olympic Association Secretary), Rajinder Pathania, Makarand Joshi and Ram Milan.
Joshi, from the GFI faction, had gone as manager of the Indian gymnastics team in the recent Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“We have set up a five-member selection panel with the consent of the GFI which is recognised by the international federation. The GFI had recommended the panel and we have accepted it. There are two members from the IOA, one each from both the factions and one is a SAI coach,” IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta told PTI after the meeting.
The GFI had called a selection trial on June 24 in Pune to pick the the Asian Games team but the IOA decided to hold it at the IG Stadium here on the same date.
The other faction, which was recognised by the IOA, had also recommended a list of selection committee members and had proposed to hold a selection trial in New Delhi on June 20.
Mehta said that the sports secretary in an earlier meeting had told the IOA to take an appropriate decision on the selection of Indian gymnastics team for the Asian Games.
“We have not got anything on writing or any letter from the ministry but the sports secretary in a recent meeting had told us to take an appropriate decision in this regard,” Mehta said.
“As discussed with you in the last meeting held regarding the preparation of the 18th Asian Games, I am enclosing herewith the letter from the GFI regarding the selection committee. The selection trials will be held on 24th June 2018 at Delhi in IG Stadium, requesting for needful at your end,” Mehta said in a letter to Sports Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar.
Regarding the equestrian controversy, Mehta said, “We have decided not to send the equestrian team in the Asian Games after its president had cancelled the selection of the team. We have met the equestrian officials.”
After naming horse riders for two equestrian events at Asian Games, Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) had cancelled their selection. EFI president Ashok Ambre had said in a signed statement that the squad was cancelled as no rider has met the criteria for any of the team or individual events.
Regarding football and handball, Mehta said that both the teams were improving and the IOA felt they should not be left out.
“Football is improving. The team is now in 16th position but I hope it will do well to be above 10th spot this time. So, we have cleared men’s football team.
“We have also cleared men’s handball team. It is in 12th position now and I hope it will do better than this.”