Furious IOA blames PCI for Khatun’s exclusion from CWG team

Even though the IOA acknowledged that Khatun has qualified well in time for this year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (CWG), the country’s Olympic body said the PCI did not send the powerlifter’s name on time.

Sakina Khatun won a bronze in para-powerlifting in the women’s lightweight (up to 61kg) category in 2014 Commonwealth Games.   -  Sushanta Patronobish

The IOA today blamed the Paralympic Committee of India for para-powerlifter Sakina Khatun’s exclusion from the country’s team for Gold Coast CWG even as the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has said that it will explore the possibility of her late inclusion.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had put the blame squarely on the PCI for Khatun’s exclusion, which has created a huge furore in the country.

Even though the IOA acknowledged that Khatun has qualified well in time for this year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (CWG), the country’s Olympic body said the PCI did not send the powerlifter’s name on time.

“As governing body of Paralympic movement in India, PCI ought to have been aware that the deadline of qualification for Para Powerlifting in 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games was 31 October, 2017,” IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta wrote in a letter to PCI CEO Group Captain Shahrukh Shamshad (Retd.)

“The IOA has sent mails to all participating member National Sports Federations including PCI on 2 August, 18 September, 4 October and 9 October 2017 regarding accreditation and entries of 2018 Gold Coast Games. There was no timely reply from PCI irrespective of repeated reminders,” he said.

“The last date for IOA to submit the Universality Invitation application for Para Powerlifting athlete qualification was 8 December 2017. The last date for sending back the confirmation for Para Powerlifting was 22 December 2017.”

Mehta said PCI’s mistake has put the IOA in an embarrassing situation and sought an explanation from the federation. “In the case of Ms. Khatun, the Paralympic Committee of India did not send her name before the deadline. The omission from your end is a serious mistake, which has caused lot of distress for the athlete and also embarrassment for the IOA,” the IOA secretary general said.

“We request you to please explain and clarify the lapse from your end.”

Even as the controversy continued, the CGF had yesterday said that it will explore the possibility of a late call-up for Khatun after the IOA made a request.

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