'Safe' IOA sends 'long list' of 906 athletes for Asian Games

Explaining the reason for submitting this long list, Batra said "the effort is not to face a situation where you have an athlete who has qualified but his name does not figure in the list of entries”.

The IOA president Narinder Batra said he wished there was no controversy before the Asian Games related to entries.   -  RAJEEV BHATT

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president N. K. Batra does not want a repeat of the Commonwealth Games when controversy arose after some of the entries were submitted late.

To ensure that no such shortcomings impact the contingent at the Asian Games, to be held in Jakarta from August 18 to September 2, the IOA has submitted a list of 906. The list appears enormous because it contains names of athletes in 40 disciplines apart from the provision that some of them may not make the final cut.

The Sports Ministry had reportedly indicated that more than 300 names would be struck off when the contingent is finalised but Batra is upset at the tone of the officials in the government circles.

“I don’t understand. What is the big deal of saying that most names would be struck off. We know all the names won’t be cleared but why are the Ministry officials in a hurry. There is a thing called a short list and a long list. What we have submitted is the long list,” Batra said.

Explaining the reason for submitting this long list, Batra said, “The last date for the first list was May 15. The names that have been submitted are the ones who are likely to make it. Obviously, there are going to be athletes who may not make the final qualifying grade.”

According to Batra, it is a “given norm that we include names because you can’t add after the deadline passes. All federations are involved in this exercise and the effort is not to face a situation where you have an athlete who has qualified but his name does not figure in the list of entries.”

The IOA president wished there was no controversy before the Asian Games related to entries. “There are some disciplines where teams have not been finalised yet. Take hockey for example. We send more than 60 names in hockey but finally only 36 are cleared. What if there is an injury? We have to have the name of the replacement player in the list of entries. That’s the reason the initial list contains more than 900 names.”

Batra also bemoaned, “It is unfortunate that we have to deal with some people in SAI (Sports Authority of India) and Ministry who are ignorant about the ground rules. As per protocol, they are only entitled to two names (Sports Ministry and his/her spouse). This one has 40 names from the government. Does it mean all the 40 would go to the Asian Games?”