Gymnasts left stumped by SAI’s selection criteria for World Championship

The gymnasts were surprised to know that the selection will be done on the basis of all-around results, which include four events for women and six for men.

The uncertainty over Indian gymnasts participation at the Doha event ended last week with the SAI deciding to hold trials for the event on September 29 and 30. (Representational Image)   -  Twitter @Media_SAI

Indian gymnasts appearing for the trial for the 48th Artistic World Championship have been left stumped by the SAI’s directive that they will have to perform the all-around routine instead of their individual events for selection.

The uncertainty over Indian gymnasts participation at the Doha event ended last week with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) deciding to hold trials for the event on September 29 and 30.

However, the gymnasts were surprised to know that the selection will be done on the basis of all-around results, which include four events for women and six for men.

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“We only came to know after coming here that the selection will be on an all-around basis. Generally, we get a letter a month in advance, but this time, we got it a week before the trials and then, it didn’t mention on what basis they will make the selection,” a gymnast said on condition of anonymity.

“Now, there is no time to prepare. I had prepared for three events. For team event, there have to be three men and three women, but they will select only four athletes, so why are they selecting on the all-around basis when there is no team, I don’t understand."

“Wouldn’t it have been better if we could have tried to come within top 30 in specific individual events? It would have been better as the upcoming world cups, which would be qualifying events will be on the basis of individual events,” the gymnast added.

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Riyaz Ahmed Bhati, vice-president of Gymnastic Federation of India (GFI) was also left stumped when he received a mail on Friday from SAI, including him in the selection committee in place of Kaushik Bediwala.

“SAI has included my name in the selection committee on such a short notice and that too without my consent. This is wrong,” he said.

“SAI is helping us now but things happened too late. It has left the gymnasts with very less time to prepare. It could have been better managed.”

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In another major development, there is also uncertainty whether Dipa Karmakar, whose knee injury had flared up at the Asian Games, will participate in the trials.

While Ashish Kumar and Aruna Budda Reddy have already decided to skip the world championship, there is speculation that Dipa too might give it a miss.

A lot of gymnasts prepared for the trials, focussing on apparatus event and selection on an all-around basis has put them in a spot.

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Many of them are also staying on their own in the capital as SAI made it clear it will not provide lodging and boarding facilities. Some are staying at the IG complex on payment basis.

Also, there is uncertainty whether the international judges will be available for the selection trial as they were informed at the last moment.

Earlier, the Indian gymnasts were left in the lurch after Sports Ministry had refused to clear the team for the World Championship since the Gymnastic Federation of India (GFI) is de-recognised and stands suspended as per the national sports code.