National Games to be held on time despite infrastructural hiccups

Contests for sporting disciplines that cannot be held in Goa will be shifted to other parts of the country, the Indian Olympic Association said after its Executive Committee meeting on Saturday.

Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra addresses the media in New Delhi on Saturday.   -  PTI

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has found a way to ensure the conduct of National Games in Goa is on time.

Contests for sporting disciplines that cannot be held due to lack of infrastructure will be shifted to other parts of the country. The Games will be held from November 4 to November 18.

Addressing the media after the Executive Committee meeting of the IOA, president Narinder Batra, along with secretary general Rajeev Mehta, announced that the entire panel of organisers from Goa had made a presentation seeking a postponement of the Games to February next year. “We want to hold the National Games in 2018. Otherwise, it could delay the conduct of the future Games in Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Meghalaya,” Batra said.

Thus, shooting and cycling, along with two other disciplines, could be shifted to other locations such as Delhi to overcome the lack of infrastructure for them in Goa.

‘Long list’

The IOA also announced that a tentative list of 1,938 athletes had been submitted for the Asian Games. Alongside 399 officials, an eight-member IOA team, seven officials from the sports ministry and 18 from the Sports Authority of India, the contingent is tentatively numbered 2,370.

However, there could be a drastic reduction in the number of athletes who eventually get the nod, due to IOA’s suggested qualification criteria — eighth place for teams and a sixth-place standard of the last Asian Games for individuals.

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Nobody need be intimidated by the big number of the ‘long list’, said Batra. While hockey had 181 names, only 36 will likely be selected, he pointed out. “If the athletes qualify, we should not discourage them. Qualified athletes will go. At the same time, we have qualification criteria, because you need to earn the India colours,” the IOA president said.

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In the meeting, the IOA also discussed the preparations for the 2020 Olympics, the sports code, and set up many committees, including the arbitration commission to sort the disputes of Pondicherry, Telangana, and other places. To strengthen India’s aspirations to bid for the mega events, a target of ‘double digit medals’ had been set for India in the Tokyo Olympics, according to Batra.

Expression of Interest

Looking further ahead, the IOA has decided to present the formal Expression of Interest to host the 2026 Youth Olympics, 2030 Asian Games and the 2032 Olympics.

The IOA also fielded questions about itself. When queried about the proposed constitutional amendments of the IOA, Batra said it was merely a “technical correction.”

He also defended the inclusion of Associate members, saying that it was important to extend affiliation to those federations which were recognised by the Olympic Council of Asia and were part of the Asian Games, but were not recognised either by the IOA or the union sports ministry. “There have been many court cases leading to a lot of legal expenses. So, we decided to give them recognition, if the national federations have recognition from the international federation,” said Rajeev Mehta.

The strengthening of the IOA to include officials such as vice-presidents was an internal matter, clarified Batra. He said it was up to the parent body, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reject the additions.

On the subject of weightlifter Sanjita Chanu’s positive dope test, the IOA said it would wait for the reports from the national federation.

PTI adds:

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has decided to strictly follow the “no accreditation policy” for the parents of sportspersons during the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia.

“There is no policy to give accreditation to parents of the players. We made an exception in Gold Coast as the athlete in question said she won’t play,” IOA secretary general Rajeev mehta told the media. “We gave [Saina Nehwal’s] parent a ‘P’ type accreditation as there were officials who were not travelling, which allowed us to make an exception. But no parents of athletes will get an accreditation from IOA for Asian Games,” Mehta added.

However, if a particular National Sports Federation (NSF) includes a parent or a spouse or a relative in the support staff, IOA will not raise an objection. “The convention is 25 percent of the squad will have officials/support staff. For example if any particular squad comprise 12 members, then three will be officials. Now if an NSF induct any parent/spouse/relative as official, then we can’t object,” Mehta said.