IOA, GFI for five-member committee to select team for Asiad

A five-hour meeting with IOA president Narinder Batra saw the Gymnastics Federation of India show a willingness to move the trials out of Pune to another venue.

Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra. (File picture)   -  PTI

The mess in Indian gymnastics moved a step closer to temporary resolution with the federation and the IOA agreeing to come together to select the team for the upcoming Asian Games.

More than five hours of meeting with IOA president Narinder Batra saw the Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI) not just agreeing to forming a five-member committee to conduct the selection trials involving all parties concerned but also indicating its willingness to move the trials out of Pune to another venue.

The committee – chaired by IOA vice-president Sunaina Kumari and including SAI officer Rajendra Pathania, GFI joint secretary Makarand Joshi, Delhi Olympic Association secretary Suresh Sharma and gymnastics coach Ram Milan – would select the team, most likely in Delhi.

“A final decision on the date and venue will be taken by tomorrow because it is the Sports Authority of India that has to give the clearance. We would like to hold the trials on June 24 only but the venue is likely to change from Pune to some other centre,” Joshi told Sportstar after the meeting.

The GFI has also submitted its acceptance of the committee to the IOA. “We have to work with the GFI because of the international federation. At the end of the day, it is about selecting the best team for Asian Games and without any controversy. It's good that all parties are agreeable to this proposal,” IOA officials said.

A training camp for elite gymnasts is currently on at the Indira Gandhi Stadium here till June 24 and, given that all the top Indian gymnasts are part of it along with national coaches GS Bawa and Bisweswar Nandi, sources said selection could be done the same day to ensure seamless movement from one phase of training to the next.

Interestingly, the GFI letter is signed by general secretary Ranjeet Vasava, whose appointment has been the bone of contention between the federation and IOA and one of the reasons for pending recognition.

De-recognised by the IOA and/or the sports ministry, the mess in gymnastics is trickier since it holds recognition from the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) and hence is the sole authority to recommend teams for international events. A similar situation before the CWG had the FIG direct IOA not to interfere.