Asian Games 2018: Sports ministry is yet to clear contingent

The 2018 edition of the Asian Games is less than two weeks away, and the spate of controversies that have hit the Indian contingent continues to dent the overall image, as the sports ministry is still facing a dilemma over the selection of the size of the Indian unit that will be travelling to Jakarta for the competition.

In early July, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) announced a 524-member strong squad to represent India across 36 sports disciplines but the demand to give the list a ‘shake-up’ saw the selection take another hit which has kept the athletes and the officials in a state of despair.

Post a big decision of making significant changes to the squad; the IOA is said to have submitted an even bigger list of 575 athletes and 213 officials to the sports ministry in light of forming the contingent for the Games which has not yet received any clearance from the Ministry. It is understood that the send-off ceremony is due to be held on the 10th of this month, before which the ministry is expected to come out with a full list.

Citing the reason for the delay on the selection of Raj Kumar Sacheti as one of the four Chefs de Missions of the contingent, it has come to light that the ministry has demanded the 2010 CWG organising committee’s ex-Joint Director-General’s dismissal from the position to clear the squad.

Earlier, the squad composition was dealt a double blow as the Indian football team was not given clearance to take part in the tournament by the IOA, a decision which was shunned by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) which claimed that the IOA lacked the ‘vision and competence’ to understand the position of football on a global scale.

Apart from this, the Equestrian team too were not given a green signal owing to the fact that none of the riders had met the criteria for taking part in the team/individual events while the Indian Kabaddi team’s selection was put under the scanner as well.

With only a little more than a week to go for the commencement of the 2018 Asian Games, the athletes will hope that they get the clearance from the ministry to travel to Jakarta and fine-tune their skill to put their best foot forward and bring back laurels to the country.