Olympian race walkers Manish Singh Rawat and Khushbir Kaur have been axed from the Indian Race Walking team for the upcoming Asian Race Walking Championships. The move comes after they opted out of the 20km event of the Max Bupa National Championships without informing anyone.
Both Manish and Khushbir’s names were originally there in the starting list of men's 20km event and women’s 20km event respectively, but they chose not to take part, which appears to have e made Athletics Federation of India (AFI) furious. The AFI had earlier directed all the athletes to take part in the National Championships.
"Any athlete who did not participate today will not be selected for Asian Race Walking Championships. We have told all the athletes to take part in the championships if they want to be selected for the Asian event. We will be very tough on that," said AFI Selection Committee chairman Gurbachan Singh Randhawa to PTI.
"I have recommended to the AFI that these athletes be thrown out of the national camps. They cannot behave like this. We will see what reason their coach gives (for non-participation)," he added.
Meanwhile, AFI secretary C K Valson also said that the governing body will take strong action against Manish and Khushbir for pulling out of the tournament without informing the federation.
"Khushbir and Manish did not inform us that they are not taking part in the event and did not furnish us any reason behind their non-participation. We will take action as this kind of things cannot go on without any punishment," he said.
"Choosing an athlete to represent the country is the job of AFI selection committee but we will surely write to them (selection committee) that these athletes pulled out at the last minute without giving prior information to us," he added.
A top federation official directed his finger towards foreign coach Alexander Artsybashev for the incident alleging that he had earlier stopped Khushbir from taking part in national level events.
"Alexander will not continue after Asian Championships (on March 20) in Japan. A new coach from Australia is coming. The paperwork for the appointment is being done currently with SAI. By April, the new coach should join," a top AFI official said on the condition of anonymity,” he said.