Posts by raj:
World Archery Federation (WA) has said to it would be prudent to wait for the decision of the Supreme Court on the elections of the Archery Association of India (AAI) before its Executive Board can validate it. However, AAI is not under the threat of being disaffiliated by WA as the world body considers it to be in good standing and Indian archers can compete internationally.
In a letter to BVP Rao, who was elected AAI president in the meeting held under the ‘new’ constitution, WA Secretary-General Tom Dielen has flagged the lack of archer’s affiliation process. “The fact that there is no clear provision could put the whole Indian Archery Federation in a very delicate position in disciplinary, eligibility and other matters,” he wrote.
He also raised doubts about the manner in which the ‘new’ constitution excludes anyone with conflict of interest rather than provide for the procedures to declare and act on perceived conflict of interests.
“The danger with that solution (as provided by Delhi High Court-appointed administrator SY Quraishi) is that competent people could be excluded which could be involved with a proper handling of conflicts of interests and respecting all principles of good governance,” he wrote.
He also attempts to pre-empt the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) from setting up an ad hoc committee to oversee AAI’s day-to-day affairs. In fact, Dielen cites inputs from the new Secretary (Sports) Radhey Shyam Julania to further this argument.
“In the interest of the athletes and knowing we are very close to the selection procedures for the World Archery Championships, and especially based on the input of the Secretary of Sports, H.E. Radhey Shyam Julaniya, World Archery is clear that the creation of any temporary or ad hoc committee would only lead to confusion…,” he wrote.
There is no doubt that the IOA will not take any rash action as it has decided to await developments the Supreme Court order in the case. As things stand, the Court last asked the Ministry to list the deviations in the AAI constitution as amended by Quraishi from the Ministry’s National Sports Development Code of India, 2011.
Dielen’s letter suggests Rao asked WA for inputs on the AAI constitution (as amended by Quraishi). It would appear that such an attempt was not made to ask the IOA and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports by either the Administrator before the constitution was enforced or Rao after the December elections.
Dielen also appears to have taken suo motu notice of the Administrator’s decision not to resolve issues around the affiliation of the Telangana Archery Association. It is unusual for a World body to write to a national federation about it not addressing a State association’s membership with alacrity.
This piece was first published in Mail Today on March 1, 2019
Their first appearance at home in 2019 was disappointing, to say the least. After all, a whole bunch of 400m runners had spent many a week in Turkey, focusing on training for the big season ahead, ostensibly away from distraction. It was natural that this bunch drew more attention than any other athletes in the Indian Grand Prix 2 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Arokia Rajiv clocked 46.49 seconds to be the fastest in the three men’s races. In the nine-woman event, MR Poovamma broke the beam in 54.12 seconds, a far cry from the sub-53 and sub-52 times that she has produced with in the past few years. That these were the best of the lot is a commentary in itself.
None of the runners on view came close to the qualifying mark for the Asian Athletics Championships – 45.85 seconds for men and 52.75 seconds for women. With big guns like Muhammad Anas Yahiya, Hima Das and Jisna Mathew staying away from the event in Delhi. it was left to the seasoned Arokia Rajiv and MR Poovamma to try and speed things up.
Even granting that it was only their first run of the season and they were easing into competitive mode, the quarter-milers who had trained for several weeks in Turkey were rather under-cooked. The Athletics Federation of India officials would have been among the most disappointed, having pinned their faith in a lot that was sent to Turkey at some cost.
Had it not been for Odisha’s Dutee Chand who made light of an utter lack of competition and met the 23.30 seconds’ qualifying standard for the Asian Athletics Championship to be held in Doha from April 21, the day would have been one of complete disappointment for the handful of track and field fans who turned up on a chilly afternoon.
Nisar Ahmed, who was disqualified during the National Youth Athletics Championship in Raipur earlier this month, was allowed to compete in the Grand Prix pending a decision by the Athletics Federation of India to impose a two-year sanction on scores of such athletes as envisaged by the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011.
He was the fastest sprinter of the day, clocking 22.05 seconds in race A, throwing down the gauntlet to Madhya Pradesh’s Emmanuel Paul and Delhi lad Abhinav Panwar. They ran a fast race B but could not spur one another to slip past Nisar Ahmed’s time. It defied understanding why two races were run when only eight sprinters reported to the call room.
With Jinson Johnson’s not putting in an appearance after filing his entry and Manjit Singh not entering the meet, Uttar Pradesh metric miler Ajay Kumar Saroj strove manfully to meet the Asian Championship qualifying standard of 3:46.00 but finished one-tenth of a second outside that mark. His State-mate Rahul tried to pace him but that was not enough.
At some point of time, AFI will have to consider introducing minimum standards for athletes to be eligible to compete in such meets. Else, it will be left with a situation where it hands out medals and certificates to athletes who manage 13.20m in men’s shot put and 25.19m in women’s discus throw as it did on Wednesday.
200m: 1. Nisar Ahmed (Delhi) 22.05 seconds; 2. Emmanuel Paul (Madhya Pradesh) 22.37; 3. Abhinav Panwar (Delhi) 22.51.
400m: 1. Arokia Rajiv (Tamil Nadu) 46.49 seconds; 2. KS Jeevan (Karnataka) 47.02; 3. Kunhu Muhammed (Kerala) 47.19.
1500m: 1. Ajay Kumar Saroj (Uttar Pradesh) 3:46.10; Rahul 3:48.15 (Uttar Pradesh); 3. Ankit (Haryana) 3:49.90.
400m hurdles: 1. Dharun Ayyasamy (Tamil Nadu) 49.94 seconds; 2. Santhosh Kumar (Tamil Nadu) 50.77; 3. M Ramachandran (Tamil Nadu) 50.83.
Triple jump: 1. SN Mohammed Salahuddin (Tamil Nadu) 15.80m; 2. Jay Shah (Maharashtra) 15.44; 3. Praveen Chithravel (Tamil Nadu) 15.40.
Shot put: 1. Parveen (Haryana) 17.37m; 3. Sahib Singh (Delhi) 16.53; 3. G Venkatesh Naidu (Andhra Pradesh) 13.20.
Discus throw: 1. S Mithravarun (Tamil Nadu) 52.62m; 2. Arvind Rathee (Haryana) 48.98m; 3. Surjeet Gurra (Delhi) 47.62,
Javelin throw: 1. Abhishek Singh (Uttar Pradesh) 78.24m; 2. Abhishek Drall (Delhi) 75.19; 3. Yashvir Singh (Rajasthan) 67.95.
200m: 1. Dutee Chand (Odisha) 23.30 seconds; 2. Anjali Devi (Haryana) 24.15; Supriya Maddali (Andhra Pradesh) 24. 48.
400m: 1. MR Poovamma (Karnataka) 54.12 seconds; 2. Saritaben Gayakwad (Gujarat) 54.61; 3. Prachi (Uttar Pradesh) 54.74.
1500m: 1. PU Chithra (Kerala) 4:20:76; 2. Lili Das (West Bengal) 4:20.89; 3. Usha Sati (Delhi) 5:08.07.
Shot put: 1. Kachnar Chaudhary (Rajasthan) 14.41m; 2. Anamika Das (West Bengal) 13.75; 3. Sonal Goyal (Delhi) 13.28,
Discus throw: 1. Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (Punjab) 54.92m; 2. Nidhi Rani (Haryana) 45.95; 3. Surgyan Choudhary (Rajasthan) 25.19.
Javelin throw: 1. Kumari Sharmila (Haryana) 50.94m; 2. Rupinder Kaur (Punjab) 48.62.
Triple jump: 1. Renu (Haryana) 12.76m; 2. Sheena (Kerala) 12.45; 3. Sonam (Uttar Pradesh) 12.34.
This report first appeared in Mail Today on February 28
India’s National Anti-Doping Agency’s (NADA) claim that the incidence of doping in India dropped to less than 70 violations in 2018 has come unstuck with revelations that as many as eight athletes were given provisional suspensions for dope violations in the final quarter of the year. NADA was pleased that this figure compared favourably with 77 violations in 2016 and 73 in 2017.
In a note released at the end of December, NADA patted itself on the back for improving the quality of dope control and, therefore, India’s position globally. Nobody could have been more aware than NADA itself that it had rushed to arrive at this conclusion before the results of hundreds of samples it collected in 2018 were known.
The National Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP), has sanctioned 39 athletes so far. As many as 27 cases are being heard or have had orders reserved by ADDPs. There are also six cases of Indian athletes whose samples, collected by NADA, tested positive in a Montreal lab after testing negative in the Delhi lab.
And, it is quite possible that more dope positives will emerge from the 600-plus tests conducted in December 2018 to carry the tally past the 75-mark, making short work of claims that India had improved its global position on this front. NADA clearly jumped the gun in an ostensible bid to show itself in good light.
Indeed, NADA can put out releases and notes to please itself that its “intelligent, target testing” paid dividends in 2018 but the truth is that doping remains rampant. It can keep quoting numbers to say it’s enhanced its testing. But cold numbers cannot reveal that not many leading athletes — even those on its registered testing pool — have been tested frequently enough.
Its approach has come in for much criticism. Its decision to test more hockey players than athletes from any other discipline in the-run up to the Asian Games in 2018 was beyond logic, especially since only four hockey players had tested positive since 2009 and more than 400 track and field athletes and weightlifters had been sanctioned during the same time.
The skewed nature of its testing can be seen from one simple statistical comparison. In the four months from March to June 2018, NADA collected just over 525 samples. These were in the months in which India was preparing for the Asian Games. And in the final month of the year, NADA collected 626 samples as it scrambled to pass the 4,000-mark for the year.
NADA must do a lot more on several fronts to lead India’s fight against doping in good faith. It can start with updating the Registered Testing Pool on its website and ensuring that those on its RTP are tested frequently. Or, if it chooses, it can start by improving its testing plan, especially its out-of-competition tests in disciplines like athletics, weightlifting, boxing and wrestling.
That only a handful of out-of-competition tests –a single-digit figure, really – tested positive is a telling statistic in itself. It can be deduced that either the choice of athletes to test or the timing of the tests have been far from optimum. Or that disciplines like athletics and weightlifting, which have dubious records, have embraced a strict anti-doping approach.
The National Anti-Doping Agency must do a lot more to lead India’s fight against doping in good faith. It can start with updating the Registered Testing Pool on its website and ensuring that those on its RTP are tested frequently.
The members of the arbitration panels – called the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel and the Anti-Doping Appeal Panel – also need to ensure that they get to the bottom of a case before passing an order or else similar situations will end up being treated differently.
For instance, gymnast Mohammed Anas was given a reprimand after he tested positive after being prescribed medicine to treat a cold virus while Asian Para Games medal winning athlete Narayan Thakur, who was prescribed a medicine by a doctor in the Sports Authority of India and tested positive, was exonerated.
If doctors with the national teams or those posted in various training facilities for national campers can make the mistake of prescribing or even handing over medicines with banned substances, the levels of awareness in the sports community and its support system needs to be strongly enhanced, But NADA is hamstrung by inadequate resources to deliver a tighter anti-doping programme.
Sadly, the 15-member Mukul Mudgal Committee which drafted the National Anti-Doping Legislation 2018 does not seem to have granted search-and-seizure powers to NADA. India could follow the example of Australia which is about to empower its anti-doping organisation by giving it the capacity to fight doping in sport. It’s granting the body broad new powers and allowing it to become operationally closer to key law enforcement agencies.
The need for considering taking the Australian approach is highlighted by the Jithin Paul case. A NADA team found Meldonium, sold as a performance-enhancing drug that was initially designed in Latvia, in Paul’s bag at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala. Paul was able to convince the appeals panel (ADAP) that NADA did not have search-and-seizure authority.
Come to think of it, those who have read the draft bill insist that a lot of the 11-page document contains material merely collated from documents already in the public domain. Just two clauses deal with offences that may lead to imprisonment; and just two paragraphs on sanctioning athletes or coaches and support personnel.
To be sure, India’s thrust against doping in sport needs much more than NADA’s efforts in leading the battle. It requires a collective approach with all stakeholders — athletes, coaches, National Sports Federations, employers and sponsors — being involved. Despite the noble intent of embracing clean sport, the task still seems quite uphill.
This article first appeared on The Telegraph India website
Comments Off on Indian sport has failed the dope test
Aryaan Bhatia, 16, became the first Indian tennis player to test positive for a banned substance. National Anti-Doping Agency revealed that it had placed him on suspension with effect from January 19 as his urine sample, collected during the National Open in Delhi in October, had traces of Prednisolone.
Those close to the Mumbai lad, who won the Khelo India Youth Games U-17 title in Pune last month, are confident that they will be able to show that the banned substance got into his body because of a syrup he took to battle cold and cough during the National Open.
Meanwhile, it came as no surprise that the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) gave middle-distance runner Monika Chaudhry a four-year ban for testing positive for EPO in a test conducted immediately after she ran a selection trial in Delhi ahead of the Asian Games. She had approached the Delhi High Court to direct the Athletics Federation of India to conduct a trial for her.
It is also a matter of grave concern that a number of athletes taking part in Services championships have tested positive and have been placed on provisional suspension. Close on the heels of the suspension of National champion sprinter Sanjeet Singh, two handball players, two canoeing and kayaking athletes and a volleyball player tested positive in Services meets.
To make things worse, a Services hockey player, Bharat Singh, was given a four-year ban by ADDP after he tested positive during the Inter-Services Championship in October 2018. Navy bodybuilder Robi Meitei Moirangthem, who competed after being provisionally suspended, was given a two-year ban.
To return to Aryaan Bhatia, his chances of convincing the ADDP to consider the circumstances under which he tested positive when arriving at a decision hinge on some key factors. If he can substantiate his claim that he took prescription medicine as he was suffering from a cold, he can hope to invoke the no fault or negligence clause.
If his dope control form has mentioned the medication prescribed by the doctor and if he is able to produce the doctor’s prescription (and, for good measure, the cash memo as proof of purchase of the medicine), Aryaan Bhatia can push for an exoneration, failing which a reprimand with no period of ineligibility. That will let him keep the Khelo India Youth Games under-17 crown.
Aryaan Bhatia he may find succor in the fact that an ADDP recently exonerated para athlete Naryan Thakur after he consumed a medicine, containing a banned substance, Terbutaline, prescribed by a doctor working with the Sports Authority of India in Gandhinagar. Narayan Thakur won the Asian Para Games 100m gold in the T25 category.
An ADDP also let young gymnast Mohammed Anas get away with a reprimand after he produced documents to show that he had consumed medicine on doctor’s advice. He did not mention his medication on the dope control form but convinced the Panel that he bore no fault or negligence and hence got it to eliminate the period of ineligibility.
In the past, National Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panels have dealt with four athletes who tested positive for prednisolone. They exonerated wrestler Vikrant Kumar but sanctioned equestrian rider Rohit Dagar and weightlifter Taranbir Singh for six months each and wrestler Gargi Yadav for a one-year period.
This piece first appeared in Mail Today on Saturday, Feb 16, 2019.
Comments Off on Services athletes testing positive for banned substances is matter of grave concern
Sakshi Shitole broke into a knowing smile.
“Before that there is the Olympic Games next year,” the Khelo India Youth Games girls under-21 recurve archery gold medal winner reminded the journalist who asked her if she had overcome the disappointment of missing out on the Asian Games in Jakarta last year and if she was aiming for the Hangzhou Games in 2022.
The 18-year-old, who traces her roots to Padwi taluk in Daund district of Maharashtra but has now based herself in Pune to realise her dreams, was a picture of composure from her first shot to the last that confirmed her a 6-0 winner over West Bengal’s Suparna Singh, who was left seeking her consistent form from the first two days that installed her favourite for the title.
“I was focussed on sticking to the routine and playing the same shot each time. The focus was not on the score or on winning set and match,” Sakshi Shitole, who has represented India in the Asia Cup competitions last year, said. “I finished outside the top four in qualification. I was disappointed with my score of 623. For I know I am capable of better.”
She beat team-mate Bhagyashri Namdev Kolte (Maharashtra) 6-2 in the quarterfinals. Bhagyashri was riding high on confidence after defeating Jharkhand’s Ankita Bhakat, who represented India in the Asian Games, in the first round. She then defeated Riya Tewatia (Haryana) 6-2 in the semifinals to set up a meeting with the consistent Suparna Singh (West Bengal) in the final.
She appeared for the 12th Standard Board examination between the Asia Cup Stage I which ended in Bangkok on March 9 and the Asian Games trials in Jamshedpur from March 15. Quite inevitably, she was undercooked and did not make the cut when the selectors picked the top eight archers from the first selection trials in Jamshedpur in March 2018.
To be sure, she had done well to score 1261 points in four rounds of shooting and earned a slot in the 12-woman round robin competition, but she then finished 11th there, winning only three of her 11 matches. The Asian Games dream did not come true, disappointing her. A journalist reminded her that she could target the next Asian Games.
“Before that, there is the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year,” she said, making her intentions and her vision clear. It is such sharp focus that speaks volumes about the single-mindedness of today’s youth. They want to challenge the best in India and be ready to compete with the world’s finest without an iota of doubt in their countenance.
She said she knew then that once the examinations were got out of the way, her primary focus would be to make it to the Olympic Games. She has now rented an apartment to be close to training centre, the Archers Academy in Shahu College, Parvati Paytha in Pune. “I am determined to not only qualify for the Olympics but also do well there,” she said.
Her first step would be to perform consistently in the five-day trials in Rohtak where the top 16 archers would be shortlisted as probables for the World Championship 2019 and the World Cups 2019. It will be a confirmation that she can walk the talk and deliver performances that will keep her in the race for Olympic Games berths.
Comments Off on KIYG champion Sakshi Shitole aims to compete in Tokyo Olympic Games
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Athletes Commission Chairman Malav Shroff’s guidelines for formation of the Athletes’ Commissions in various National Sports Federations (NSFs) has stirred a veritable hornet’s nest. For, it makes a whole lot of Asian Games medallists and Arjuna Award winners ineligible for election to such Athletes’ Commissions.
Shroff has given first preference to all Olympians from the last six editions and the second preference to all medallists in Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. In doing that, he indicates that an athlete who finished 19th and last in an Olympic Games is available for election while a multiple Asian Games medallist from before 2010 would be ruled out.
Such deliberate construct of electoral colleges in NSFs had led to confusion, chaos and, at times, allegations of anarchy. An athlete embracing the ploy is indicative of the deep-rooted malaise in the Indian sports firmament. Clearly, Shroff has ignored the composition of the commission that he heads in IOA. One of his colleagues, not an Olympian, played the Asian Games in 1990.
One of the first NSFs to use this to its advantage is the Equestrian Federation of India.
It has considered holding elections for its Athletes Commission according to these guidelines issued by the IOA Athletes’ Commission Chairman. These guidelines have led to the exclusion of 1980 Olympians, including JS Ahluwalia, and several Arjuna Award winners and Asian Games medallists including Adhiraj Singh, Rajesh Pattu and Deep Kumar Ahlawat.
There really is no reason why those who have represented India with distinction, won medals and earned national awards should be excluded from being members of and getting elected to their respective NSF’s Athletes’ Commissions. It is crucial that IOA sends out the right signals at a time when it is eager to be seen as having embraced good governance practices.
Curiously, in writing the guidelines, Shroff has overlooked IOA Secretary-General Rajiv Mehta’s missive to the NSFs saying that they must replicate the rules laid down by their respective International Federations (IFs). It is not clear if Shroff’s guidelines have the sanction of the IOA Executive Committee, let alone the General Assembly.
It is imperative for the Indian Olympic Association to issue a well-articulated set of guidelines. Until that happens, the National Sports Federations must follow the procedures that their respective international federations adopt in electing athletes’ representatives to their decision-making bodies.
This article first appeared in Mail Today on February 1, 2019.
Comments Off on IOA Athletes’ Commission Chair guidelines ignore many Asian Games medallists, Arjuna Award winners
Archery Association of India Open Selection Trial Results:
Comments Off on Archery Association of India Open Selection Trial Results
And then one day, he has had to make that decision. The man who played his cricket with immense pride and plenty of heart, with the fierce thought of doing it for his team and country and unflinchingly has decided to call it a day. Gautam Gambhir, aware that the passage of time spares none, has chosen to announce his retirement from all forms of the game.
He can look back at all that he has done with pride. His batsmanship, including his acute awareness of where his off-stump was, his competitive streak that saw him ask for no quarters let alone concede any, his quest to be the best he could be at all times and his ability to hold his own in a strong batting line-up combined to make him the player he was. Gusty, feisty and proud.
His opening partnership with the dashing Virender Sehwag’s – often called the Viru-Gauti show – will be remembered for the consistent productivity. The manner in which he dealt with having to be Sehwag’s partner was praiseworthy. It would not have been the easiest of tasks to have to curb his own aggressive instincts much of the time, but he did that without batting an eyelid.
He earned himself the reputation of being a big-match player after top-scoring in the ICC World Twenty20 2007 final and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 final in Mumbai. The 75 against Pakistan in Johannesburg and 97 against Sri Lanka in Mumbai will be remembered for how he allowed the stroke-players to express themselves freely while not sacrificing his own hunger.
Yet, he was a pillar of India’s batting in Tests, especially between 2008 and 2012. In the wilderness in 2006 and nearly all of 2007, he returned to the XI after powerful display in the CB Series in Australian in 2008. He made a hundred each against Sri Lanka and Australia in that limited-over series and the confidence with which he batted forced the selectors to recall him.
I remember speaking with him at the Melbourne airport as the team made its way back home after beating Australia 2-0 in the best-of-three finals to win the triangular series. We discussed the possibility of his having played himself into the Test side. He looked at me questioningly and said: “You reckon?”
To be fair to the man, he did not taunt me when the selectors overlooked him during the home series against South Africa. Instead, he focused on doing a good fist of opening the innings for Delhi Daredevils in the IPL competition. And showing to the selectors that he was at the peak of his skills. Finally, he was given a chance against Australia, the world’s best side.
The 104 in the second innings in Mohali to set up a win against Australia was followed at the Feroz Shah Kotla with 206. Few batsmen have managed hundreds in back-to-back Tests against an attack that included Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Shane Watson and Peter Siddle. These knocks will be the most reflective of his prowess and determination to earn the straps as a Test cricketer.
Of course, his long haul in Napier when India had to battle over the last two days to earn a draw after following on will be remembered. He was at the crease for 12 and three-quarters hours and scored 137, stitching together partnerships with Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman to ensure that the team could hold its head high.
My own favourite Gautam Gambhir on-field moment is from that double hundred at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. He had battled his way to the 90s when Shane Watson bowled an inspired spell, using steepling bounce to challenge the left-hander. In fact, he forced Gautam Gambhir to take his eyes off one such delivery and found the outside edge to the third man fence.
It was in the bowler’s next over that Gambhir made a statement of intent. Batting at 99, he stepped out to Watson and hit him straight for a six to bring up his century in a manner that Sehwag would have been proud of. That audacious stroke made Australian captain Ricky Ponting take Watson off the attack, not bringing him on till the next day.
Away from international cricket, Gautam Gambhir was just as competitive in domestic cricket – be it Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy or IPL where he found success as Kolkata Knight Riders skipper. He will also be remembered for leading Delhi to the Ranji Trophy in 2008, including a century in the final, a journey that was instrumental in his getting back to Test cricket.
Come to think of it, none of this would have come true had he struck to his decision of giving up all cricket when he was not selected for the ICC Youth World Cup in Sri Lanka in 1999-2000. He was so distraught at having been overlooked, despite scoring plenty of runs, that he decided that cricket would not be worth his time and that he would focus on academic and business pursuits.
Hoping that an article in a newspaper against the selection would make a difference, his mother and uncle talked to a journalist to see if that ploy would work. The journalist knew better than to write a piece that could have virtually ended Gatuam Gambhir’s career. He spoke with the youngster and persuaded him to think of the larger goal of playing Tests and ODIs.
And now, after having scored 10324 runs for India across the three formats in a successful and satisfying career, Gautam Gambhir has decided to hang up his boots. He has been a loyal servant of the game, unafraid to wear his passion and patriotism on his sleeves while focusing on the task on hand. Indeed, he can look back at his career with satisfaction – and pride.
This article first appeared in BBC Hindi website. You can read it here. 1
Comments Off on Gautam Gambhir can look back at his career with satisfaction and pride
The Supreme Court decision on Monday not to defer the Archery Association of India election proceedings until it passed its opinion on the amendments carried out by the Delhi High Court-appointed administrator SY Qureshi and the objections against some of those over-reaching changes has left him facing a piquant situation.
According to the “new” constitution, amended by the Delhi High appointed administrator, placed before the Supreme Court and filed with the Registrar of Societies of Delhi, at least one third of the AAI General Council shall be archers of outstanding merit and will be nominated by the Archers’ Commission of India.
Since that body is non-existent at moment, the administrator has given himself the right to nominate the archers to the general council in consultation with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The larger question centres around how the administrator will go about the task of finding 30-plus archers of outstanding merit.
Though the election is scheduled for December 22, the last date for submission of names of authorised representatives of State Associations and Board is December 7. So, in effect, the administrator has only 12 days in which to cast his net and find the archers. Not just any archers but those of outstanding merit.
There are 16 archers who have won the Arjuna Award, including four who competed in the Asian Games this year, while Satyadev Prasad was given the Dhyan Chand Award and Purnima Mahato got the Dronacharya Award in 2013. Sanjeev Kumar Singh, an Arjuna Award winner in 1992, went on secure the Dronacharya Award for coaches in 2007 and is now a Government Observer.
As an aside, the Ministry may have to consider nominating a new Government Observer since Sanjeev Kumar Singh will be a voting member of AAI. It is not as if India is brimming with archers of such standing and credibility for the Ministry to be able to find an archer outside of those who are AAI members.
Returning to the task ahead of the administrator (who is, by the way, the Returning Office as well), it should not be surprising if he is forced to whittle down the meaning of the term “outstanding merit” that he has used in the AAI Constitution. Or, will he be compromise on a rule that he wrote down himself and settle for less than one-third representation by archers in the general council?
It is immediately not clear if an archer of outstanding merit representing a state unit or an associate member will have an additional vote as an archer of outstanding merit. It can be presumed that since one person can have only one vote, such an archer will have to choose between voting as an athlete or voting as a representative of a State or an institution.
In the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s case, the Supreme Court has not mandated the elections to be held since the BCCI Constitution have still not got its stamp of approval. Curiously, in AAI’s case, the Court has adopted a different stance, though it has not passed any orders on the “new” constitution.
As of Tuesday morning, link on the AAI website to Schedule-I leads the visitor to a page that reads: “HTTP Error 404.0 – Not Found. The resource you are looking for has been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.” The administrator has opened himself to the risk of having to settle for a “Not Found” report for the 30-plus archers of outstanding merit.
This article first appeared in Mail Today, November 21, 2018
Comments Off on Finding 30-plus outstanding archers tough task for AAI administrator
It has been quite a year for Hima Das who caught everyone’s fancy from the time she surfaced as a quartermiler in the Federation Cup in Patiala. After having been under the spotlight on the track and in the arc-lights, posing for magazine covers, the Assam teenager seems to have been identified by National Anti-Doping Authority (NADA) to be a part of its Registered Testing Pool (RTP).
Of course, there is no certainty that NADA will test all athletes on the RTP frequently.
After all, a recent report, based on an RTI application, revealed that NADA tested more hockey players than other athletes in the year’s first half. To say that hockey is a very high-risk sport – because of the possibility of winning medals and the popularity of the game – to justify its decision to choose more hockey players for out of competition testing is to ignore its own database.
A cursory scanning of the ADDP decisions on 840-plus cases will reveal that nearly half of these come from the two disciplines of athletics and weightlifting. There have been just six hockey players who have been sanctioned by ADDPs since its inception in 2009. Indeed, it is a good example of how NADA has been missing the woods for the trees.
It must soon correct its test distribution plan to be seen as leading the fight against doping. It must take into account factors like a sport’s practitioners’ instances of doping and focus on the elite levels a bit more than it has. Of course, it cannot ignore doping at the grass-root level and must have a fair percentage of tests for athletes under the age of 18.
Yet, it conducted a whopping 35 per cent of the 2062 tests from January to July at the Khelo India School Games. In a year in which Indians did well in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, it would not have been wrong to expect that the bulk of the testing would be of the elite athletes heading to these events.
Despite talk of Hima Das being placed on the RTP, NADA is yet to publish an updated list. For all you know, it is still in the process of finalising the list. It will do well to compile the list after consultations with experts from outside NADA. Of course, it can form an independent panel of erstwhile national coaches and retired athletes to draw up its RTP.
With a bunch of elite athletes set to train overseas in the run-up to the World Championship next year and the Olympic Games in 2020, NADA’s challenges will only grow. It must take upon itself the task of testing the elite athletes more frequently and enhance the confidence of the sport’s supporters that the track and field stars are votaries of clean sport.
It does not have domain experts in house who can identify the athletes to be listed on RTP. One of the easiest other things for it to do would be to use the list of athletes funded by the Sports Authority of India’s TOP Scheme as a benchmark. And this list will be a good pointer to who SAI and the National Sports Federations see as having the potential to make a mark in Tokyo2020.
The moot question is: Will NADA get its RTP and test distribution plan right in the time ahead?
Comments Off on NADA should get its priority right as far as RTP and test distribution plan go