World Cup gold medal-winning archer alleges favouritism by federation for holding trials
Indian compound archer Aman Saini alleged that the Archery Association of India (AAI) has adopted favouritism and made 'unfair decisions' to hold trials for the next two stages of World Cup and the coveted World Games.
Indian compound archer Aman Saini, who won the gold medal in the men's team event of the World Cup Stage 2 last week in South Korea, has alleged that the Archery Association of India (AAI) has adopted favouritism and made 'unfair decisions' to hold trials for the next two stages of World Cup and the coveted World Games.
Saini, who was part of the fourth-seeded men's team of Abhishek Verma, Rajat Chauhan beat France by two points to win the gold medal in the compound team event at the World Cup Stage 2. Recently he discovered that the AAI has meddled with the selection trials policy for the World Games, which will begin on July 7. The World Games are an international multi-sport event comprising sports and sporting disciplines that are not contested in the Olympic Games, hence compound archery (a non-Olympic discipline) is a part of the World Games.
Speaking to The Bridge, in an exclusive interview, Saini said, "The association was so insincere about the procedure as it did not have any consideration for the other medal-winning athletes in the World Cups. I was part of the team which won both the gold medals at World cup 1 and 2 and was also selected for the World Games. Since the Asian Games got cancelled, there was no point in having any selection trial for the upcoming World Cups. But the association is now holding selection trials for World Cups and World Games again and making us play with those athletes who have only played in domestic tournaments this year and our medals are not being considered. This is pure biasedness of association for giving chance to 'their favourite' athletes."
Saini who was selected for Archery World Cup Stage 1 and Stage 2 through trials was assured by AAI through a notice in March that the top 2 archers in the World Cup Stage 1 and 2 would automatically be selected for the World Games 2022 in Birmingham without having to go through trials. Saini being the second-best men's compound archer in the team was confident that he would be going to be a part of the World Games. But as soon as he travelled back to India following their World Cup Stage 2 win, AAI released a revised schedule for the selection trials on May 26, that a trial would be conducted on May 28, where only the top archer (not the top-2, as mentioned earlier) would be exempted from the trials for World Games. As a result, Saini's name was automatically dropped from the exemption list and now only Abhishek Verma's name stays on the list.
Besides, in March, the AAI had put in its notice that any of the selected archer's performance is below par i.e. 10 points minus in recurve compared to 1st Indian archer and 5 points lower than the top-most Indian archer in compound in World Cup 1 or World Cup 2, then they will conduct a round-robin match between the 1 non-performing archer and 5th to 8th archer to determine the entry into top 4 positions. The new notice, which was released on May 26, revised the selection procedure asking for trials between the 2nd to 4th archer and 5th to 8th archer for the top-4 places in World Cup Stage 3 and 4.
Saini added, "We have performed very well in the World Cups and in Stage 2, I shot 702/720, whereas, the highest score of our top archer was 709/720 which is just a gap of 7 points. My individual match average was the highest among my teammates. Still, only one archer is being exempted from trials. There was no prior notice of any trial earlier. We arrived in India on the night of May 24 and just on May 26 we are being notified for trials, which are to be held on May 28. The other participants have been training while we were there in Korea for 3 days after the match where we did not get any time to train and no venue was arranged for our practice."