Gymnastics World C’ship: Sports Ministry writes to FIG to allow IOA to select gymnasts

The two-day selection trials organised by Gymnastic Federation of India (GFI) to select a six-member team for the World Championships was postponed early this month after the Sports Authority of India (SAI) requested the IOA to conduct the trials.

The Gymnastic Federation of India (GFI) headed by Sudhakar Shetty has the backing of the Federation Internationale de Gymnatisque (FIG) even though it remains de-recognised by the Indian sports ministry since 2011.   -  GETTY IMAGES

The Sports Ministry has written a letter to Federation Internationale de Gymnatisque (FIG) to allow the committee headed by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to select the team for next month’s World Championship in Artistic Gymnastics.

Olympic quotas will be up for grabs at the World Championship which is scheduled to be held in Stuttgart, Germany from October 4 to 13.

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However, the two-day selection trials organised by Gymnastic Federation of India (GFI) to select a six-member team for the World Championships was postponed early this month after the Sports Authority of India (SAI) requested the IOA to conduct the trials.

The GFI headed by Sudhakar Shetty has the backing of the world body even though it remains de-recognised by the sports ministry since 2011.

In the letter dated September 11, the Sports Ministry made it clear to FIG that it doesn’t recognise GFI because of “mis-governance, favouritism and factionalism in the organisation“.

“The GFI headed by Sudhakar Shetty is charging money for selection and nomination of athletes for competitive events and indulging in rampant favouritism,” the Ministry said in the letter addressed to FIG Secretary General Nicolas Buampane.

“Any National Sports Federation not adhering to the principles of good governance and transparency, as laid down in the National Sports Development Code of India 2011 (NSDCI), is not entitled to select Indian national team.”

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As per prevailing convention, it is the IOA which forms a committee to carry out the selection trials when there is no recognised National Sports Federation (NSF), Joint Secretary of Sports Ministry Inder Dhamija said in the letter.

“You are requested to take a holistic view and protect the interests of athletes in a fair and transparent manner by letting the committee headed by Indian Olympic Association to carry out selection trails and select best performing Indian athletes on merits fr competitive events in a free and fair manner,” he said.

The Sports Ministry also said that “Shetty and GFI would attract penal action under the law in the event they use the Indian flag or show the team representing India” in the World Championship.

The differences between SAI and GFI had led to similar issues ahead of the Asian Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in June, and World Cups in Baku and Doha in March this year.