The ambitious Khelo India programme of the Sports Ministry appears to be heading towards becoming yet another point of conflict between the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the government.

In a series of emails to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) deputy director-general Sandeep Pradhan, IOA president Narinder Batra has sought clarity on the methodology and selection process for trainees under the Khelo India development programme.

“I would like to understand whether the athletes in the attached list under Khelo India Talent development programme have been selected by the selection committee of the (concerned) National Sports Federation or by the Sports Authority of India approved selectors through Khelo India,” Batra wrote. He further added that “In case the NSF is not involved then we do not approve of this selection.”

The identified sportspersons include three lifters, six kabaddi players, two gymnasts and 10 fencers. Khelo India was organised to broad-base sporting talent at the grassroots and identify talented kids for specialised training through SAI and other recognised training centres. The IOA's emails have in particular questioned selections in kabaddi, fencing, weightlifting boys and gymnastics.

Interestingly, while the email seeks the involvement of NSFs, the Gymnastics Federation of India is currently de-recognised by both the IOA and the ministry. Weightlifting Federation of India secretary general Sahdev Yadav, meanwhile, confirmed that the IWLF was part of the selection process.