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Reports: Sports Ministry grants greater autonomy to National Sports Federations than IOA

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Reports: Sports Ministry grants greater autonomy to National Sports Federations than IOA

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SportsCafe Desk

07/19/2018

According to the reports, Sports Ministry has decided to give greater autonomy to National Sports Federation in choosing athletes to represent India. The decision came in the wake of controversies that have been going around regarding selection of Indian athletes for the Asian Games 2018.

According to reports from TOI, following the criticism over the selection of some of the Indian athletes chosen to participate in the upcoming Asian Games 2018 in Indonesia, the union sports ministry has decided to give National Sports Federations (NSFs) greater autonomy in choosing athletes to represent India. So far, athletes for Indian contingent could only be chosen strictly according to norms announced by the ministry on March 10, 2015. 

Now in a letter to the IOA president, the ministry stated that specific relaxation of norms, purely on merit-basis, to allow sending of teams or athletes in the larger interest of sports and sportspersons. The move was made because some deserving sportspersons were unable to make the cut for Team India due to the stringent guidelines, lesser exposure to tournaments. Therefore the ministry has advised the IOA that it may in consultation with respective sports federations reassess the decision taken by them, regarding sports discipline which were not eligible for participation in the Asian Games but could be considered for participation in light of the fact that individual athlete or team have been performing consistently well in the last six months, but could not qualify due to lack of enough exposure or participation in ranking events and hence has a strong possibility of either winning a medal in the Asian Games 2018 or finishing in the top four.

In recent days, there has been controversy in the selection of Indian teams in several disciplines. Earlier, the Equestrian Federation of India initially announced the team and later changed it and said that norms were not followed in the initial selection. The IOA had also recently dropped the triathlon team for the event.

"Government wants performing athletes and sportspersons to travel, the judgement is left to IOA and NSFs," an official source told TOI. "Indian government by far is among the handful of countries who support athletes and teams end to end for such events. (In fact in many countries, athletes have to make their own arrangements). The amount of incentives in India are among the highest in the world."

"In 2015, even earlier such guidelines were issued to NSFs where criterion of 6th place in individual and 8th for team were proposed. This time more flexibility was provided by the clause - even if the athlete or team doesn't meet the criterion but NSF is convinced of top 4 finish they can propose the athlete or team for selection with well laid out justification," he added.

On July 3, the IOA had announced a 524-member contingent of athletes for the August 18-September 2 Asian Games in Indonesia where they would compete for medals in 36 disciplines. The contingent has 277 men and 247 women athletes. In the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, the Indian contingent featured 541 athletes across 28 disciplines.

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