Nepotism, False Information: IOA Forced to Chop Asian Games Team

The Indian Olympic Association is making changes to the 524-member Asian Games contingent that it announced on 3 July.

No, football still hasn't made the cut. And with the official football draws being announced without India included, there’s no turning back on that one decision for the Narinder Batra-led national body.

However, other sports on the IOA shortlist are feeling the impact of the repercussions of football being axed from the list – following the IOA’s claim that only teams that ranked in the top eight at the last Asian Games have been included to represent India in Indonesia in August.

Here’s a look at the changes that IOA has been forced to do:

Triathlon Team Dropped

The entire four-member triathlon team has been removed from the contingent after the IOA realised their federation had provided “misleading information”.

Narinder Batra, the President of India’s Olympic Association, claims they were told that the relay event in triathlon was making its debut at the 2018 Asian Games and therefore, the Indian athletes did not have past rankings to prove their medal contention.

"We were earlier told that the relay event was happening for the first time (in Asian Games). But we found out the information given to us was incorrect; the relay event is happening for the second or third time and Indian team is not in the top 15." - Narinder Batra, President - IOA

As it turned out, the event had, in fact, been a part of the Games before. Names of all four athletes have been withdrawn for having provided false information.

How come India’s parent body did not have this information on their own? First they drop football, and now this. Our ‘Questions for the IOA’ list continues to grow.

Sport Climbers Make Late Entry

The IOA seem to have completely ignored sport climbing entirely, with their names being left out of the original 524-member contingent.

After a second round of meetings, the country’s apex sports body seem to have realised the lapse and reviewed the credentials of eight athletes. Five did not make the cut but three names have been sent forward to the Asian Games organisers. The new additions’ participation however will now depend on whether the organising committee accepts the entries.

Additions in Equestrian

Additions to the squad include a three-member equestrian show jumping team being cleared to participate, based on their credentials. They join the four names already sent from the eventing team.

"We have added three athletes in show jumping in equestrian," Batra said after a meeting attended by IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta.

Again, why this wasn’t done before is a question... you know the drill.

Flawed Sambo Selection

In sambo, a martial art and combat sport with roots in Russian-Soviet, the IOA was forced to chop a six-member squad down to just one.

Why? Faulty selection.

Two men and four women had been included in the original list of 524 but again, the IOA had to go back and check facts, resulting in only Srikanth being allowed to represent India in the sport in Indonesia.

There were also reports of biased selection in the trials, with the daughter-in-law of the Samo Federation secretary, Deputy Ram Sharma, coming close to representing India next month.

"We have rejected five sambo players from the six named earlier after a thorough review. We found some anomalies in the figures given to us earlier by the federation. When we cross checked, we found that the figures were not correct." - Narinder Batra, President, IOA

One of the names struck off from the list is that of Lalit Narain or ‘Superstar Sambo’, a man who has become the face of the sport in India over the years. According to The Indian Express, he first won a medal for India on the international stage as a junior in 1994. His latest achievements include a bronze at the Asian Championship five years ago; He also managed to place fifth at the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games – but the IOA still elected to drop his name because he’s 39 years old.

Men’s Handball Team in Draw

One team that seemed to have made it’s way to the Asian Games without being a part of the IOA’s final list is the Indian men’s handball team.

While the women’s team are already under the scanner for being included in the contingent despite lackluster shows in the past few years, the men’s team did not find a mention in the 524-member contingent.

However, in the draw announced by the Asian Games organising committee, 13 teams have been divided in four groups, and the Indian men’s handball team is among them. The group comprising India has four teams will other groups have three teams each. India are in group D alongside Bahrain, Chinese Taipei, India and Iraq. They are however, not expected to be allowed to participate by the IOA.

. Read more on Olympic Sports by The Quint.‘We’re Gutted’: English Players React After WC Semi-Final LossNepotism, False Information: IOA Forced to Chop Asian Games Team . Read more on Olympic Sports by The Quint.