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Asian Games 2018

Taekwondo players fight legal battle after Asian Games snub

Taekwondo players fight legal battle after Asian Games snub
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By

Sohinee

Published: 27 July 2018 4:20 AM GMT
The Indian scenario in the field of Taekwondo has taken a nasty turn ever since the Taekwondo Federation of India (TFI) went ahead selecting the players for the upcoming Jakarta Asian Games without any formal selection trial being held. This rash act on behalf of the TFI in association with the IOA has angered the athletes across India who nurtured dreams in their eyes for a chance to participate in the quadrennial event that is set to begin from August 18 and continue till September 2. Subsequently, the pressure is now imposed upon the Federation by the players who have moved the Delhi High Court to fight for their case and a fair chance to qualify as participants for the Asian Games. The official date for the submission of the athletes' names was 30th June to the IOA. The TFI failed to abide by the period and it was discovered that the two associations have coordinated and trials were said to be held one day before the last date. But it has been reported that players had already been selected without the proper organisation of trials leaving out many deserving athletes who had consecutively performed well in national and international championships. This caused the athletes to rage against the Federation and file a case against them. The recent developments have shed a ray of hope on the Taekwondo players desperate to have a go and prove their worth. The Delhi High Court has responded today and decided that "all the players along with IOA official have been directed to appear before Secretary at noon tomorrow.  Sect (Sports) shall adjudicate the issue in larger national interest. Within the next two days & take a final call and give a final decision in this regard. The decision by Sect (Sports) shall be binding on all parties. IOA, through its lawyer, has also been put to notice and reprimanded for taking obnoxious objections in this regard ." The players consider having a dynamic ex-Olympian like Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore as the Sports Minister an added boon that will tilt the case to their side after he sanctioned the "one-man committee" idea to look into the matter and resolve it at the earliest. Speaking to
The Bridge
in an exclusive interview, Vinay Singh of Peace Taekwondo Academy relayed, "We are very much optimistic that things will turn in favour of the athletes because we have approached the Ministry. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who himself is a sportsman, an Olympian is there. So I am sure that the decision will come in favour of the athletes." However ethical and necessary the fight is at this stage, time is not an ally right now because the Asian Games are knocking just around the corner. Singh, who is infuriated by the decisions of the TFI channelises his frustration as he says, "What has happened is unfair, and there should have been a selection trial. If the athletes were not deserving, they should not be sent [to] the Asian Games. But if they are deserving, they should be getting an opportunity. "
Singh doesn't push away the apparent facts of reality and admits, "I know it is late in the day. But it is not something we postponed. From the 2014 Incheon Asian Games to the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, it has been four years." The fact that there has been a lack of transparency in the activities of the TFI and the muddled up criteria laid down by the Federation is an age-old issue now. Singh complains in the same line saying, " In the last four years, if the IOA, through the Federation had made these clear then these issues would not have come up. There was an issue that things were not communicated. No selection trials were conducted. They win or lose it doesn't matter, but they should at least get the opportunity to showcase their talent.
" It is sad to see players being robbed of a single chance to display their talent and giving their best shot for a major event like the Asian Games. Rahul Mehra, an ardent sports activist, lauded the Sports Minister's decision on the Taekwondo issue and tweeted about it. To participate in any such prestigious international event, a selection trial is compulsory to allow for a fair chance to all athletes. As Singh rightfully says, "We have spent so much money on training and diet of the players that we do not have enough money to go to lawyers to fight our case. The lawyer (Mr Saurabh Jain) who took up our case is doing it for free. Because ultimately he is an Indian and he has the bigger picture in mind."
Aside from the money spent behind the training of the players, one must take into account the dreams interspersed of the young athletes. Snatching away a chance to participate in the Asian Games which doesn't come around every year is going to take a significant toll on them. Singh, his voice full of hope asserts,"We strongly believe that the result will come in favour of the athletes." It is only tomorrow that the final decisions will be taken as to what is to be done and if things go right then, the IOA and the TFI will see sense and not allow many dreams to shatter even before they had a chance to come near reality.
Also read: Only a medal has the power to transform sports and change mindsets | By Kashish Malik
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