No equestrian team for Asian Games

The decision, EFI secretary General Col. R. K. Swain says, was taken after discussing all factors including the medal-winning prospects of the teams.

No Indian equestrian team at the Jakarta Asian Games. (File Picture)   -  M. Karunakaran

There will be no Indian equestrian team at the Jakarta Asian Games.

A marathon five-hour meeting between the Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) officials and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) here on Thursday ended with the IOA deciding not to recommend a team for the competition, citing the inability of meeting the qualifying criteria set by the EFI itself.

“As of now, there is no team being fielded at the Asian Games,” EFI secretary General Col. R. K. Swain told Sportstar adding that re-trials were not possible given the paucity of time. The decision, he said, was taken after discussing all factors including the medal-winning prospects of the teams. Sources, however, said a small door has been left open for participation depending on whether EFI president Lt. Gen Ashok Ambre is able to convince IOA president Narinder Batra of the team's chances at a later date but chances are bleak.

There were also murmurs of the selection committee insisting on sending the same team as selected without any changes but Col. Swain refuted any such suggestions.

IOA officials, meanwhile, insisted that there was no point sending a team to make up the numbers. “When the teams haven't been able to fulfil the EFI's own qualifying criteria, how can they be fielded,” they questioned.

The EFI had on June 4 announced a seven-member team – four in eventing and three in show-jumping – despite only one meeting the 03 qualifying criteria in both events, keeping the “best interest of the sport” in mind.

Two days later, the EFI president, also the president of the selection committee, unilaterally overturned the decision of which he had been part with a blunt statement, “in view of the fact that NO rider has met the criteria for any of the team or individual events i.e. in eventing, showjumping and dressage, the selection of the team for eventing and show jumping stands cancelled”.